Three weeks remaining until the Kentucky Derby! The Derby is shaping up to be a top class affair. Seemingly each prep has showcased the kind of talent that a Derby winner must possess. Now, the final preps and finishing touches for preparing these champions.
1. Friesan Fire – Rock solid. Should absolutely love the distance. 7 weeks doesn’t worry me with Larry Jones, and could actually help the price. I really like that he skipped the Blue Grass Stakes, which could have been a grueling race. Looking like the solid “Key” horse.
2. Quality Road – Most talented 3yo Bar None. “Superstar” was huge in Florida Derby, cruising near the front, rating patiently and showing a good response when shaken up in the stretch. Got a great trip, but impressed most with his professional behavior. Quarter-crack puts his Derby status in doubt.
3. I Want Revenge – Talented and Versatile. Left at the break, trapped behind a wall of horses, and responded well to beat a weak bunch in the Wood Memorial. I’m not 100% sold that he will appreciate the Kentucky Derby’s added class and distance, but he could also be the winner.
4. Dunkirk – His Florida Derby was a huge race. However he faced a more talented rival, and spotted that one multiple lengths in trip dynamics. Appeared to flatten a little at the end of the Florida Derby, which is a bit of a concern. On the graded earnings “bubble”.
5. Old Fashioned – Old Fashioned is a puzzle. Hopefully we know a lot more after the Arkansas Derby. In the Rebel Stakes, Old Fashioned dueled with sprinter Silver City at such a fast pace, that he was shocked late by 50-1 shot Win Willy. Is he capable of staying out of an unwanted speed duel? He has a good deal of stamina, and one of the better trainers. I like the switch to regular workout jockey Terry Thompson.
6. Chocolate Candy – Conformation is a little wide up front. However he should handle the distance, and has “big-game” talent. Ability to make headway and finish strongly. Santa Anita Derby finished fast which could be the perfect prep for developing form.
7. Desert Party – So he couldn’t catch stablemate Regal Ransom over that extremely speed-favoring track in the UAE Derby… He looked good and finished willingly. I was more surprised with jockey Frankie Dettori’s comments that the horse felt a bit flat. His loss in Dubai only strengthens his price. Maybe a consideration for single race exotics.
8. Pioneerof the Nile – I think he is a toss for me. No value, and 10 furlongs is a question. Not even sure about his class level on dirt! However he is 100% racehorse. Baffert has him in good shape over that consistent pro-ride surface. I really like that he has developed the ability to make multiple moves in “push button” fashion.
9. Charitable Man – Longshot "unknown" going into his final prep. He has talent, and should get the distance. A strong effort in the Blue Grass Stakes, will make him one to respect, and could be a big price in the Kentucky Derby.