Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.
1 -- Point Given
/Bob Baffert/Thunder Gulch-Turko's Turn, by Turkoman
While there are questions surrounding most of the top choices, the only question people are asking about this big chestnut is whether he's going to win the Triple Crown. Work on April 24 should be interesting.
2 -- Congaree
/Bob Baffert/Arazi-Mari's Sheba, by Mari's Book
Unlimited potential and excellent Thoro-Graph pattern could overcome lack of experience and racing foundation. All we can do now is watch his work on Apr. 24 and see how he bounced out of the Wood.
3 -- Monarchos
/John Ward/Maria's Mon-Regal Band, by Dixieland Band
Which way will he go after Wood? He seemed to get what he needed out of the race, in which he was at a great disadvantage, surface-wise and bias-wise. Chavez had to put push a long way out to get him in the race.
4 -- Dollar Bill
/Dallas Stewart/Peaks and Valleys-Saratoga Game, by Saratoga Six
He's becoming our solid overlay special. His coat looks sensational, he's packing a lot of flesh, and he looks happy. We feel he's been deprived of showing his best and will be champing at the bit on Derby Day.
5 -- Balto Star
/Todd Pletcher/Glitterman-Miss Livi, by Devil's Bag
Very impressive individual. After two monster performances, running incredibly fast figures, he still looks like a block of granite. Pletcher has issued a warning to anyone foolish enough to try to run with him.
6 -- Millennium Wind
/Dave Hofmans/Cryptoclearance-Bali Babe, by Drone
Blue Grass was such a major jump from his previous race, can he maintain that form coming back in only three weeks? His allergy has been acting up again, and his cracked heels are back and nasty.
.7 -- A P Valentine
/ Nick Zito/A.P. Indy-Twenty Eight Carat, by Alydar
Yes, we're well aware that we could have egg on our face...again. But why blow him off so close to the big race after sticking with him this long? He looked very eager working 5 furlongs in a super :59 3/5. You never know.
8 -- Jamaican Rum
/James Cassidy/Exemplary Leader-Little Ricky S., by Runaway Groom
Keeps improving with each race, and is the only horse to have run respectable races against dynamos from the West (Point Given) and East (Balto Star). Ducked in badly at Oaklawn, but still was coming on strongly
9 -- Express Tour
/Saeed bin Suroor/Tour d'Or-Express Fashion, by Private Express
He has to overcome having only one race this year, but looking at this mountain of a horse, one can't help but wonder if there's something very special lurking inside him. Could be much better than most think.
10 -- Thunder Blitz
/Joe Orseno/Holy Bull-Rasant, by Assert
Dangerous because he's getting good fast and at the right time. He's kept good company in allowance races, and finally burst out in the Flamingo Stakes. Big step up to the Derby, but he could surprise some people.
11 -- Fifty Stars
/Steve Asmussen/Quiet American-My Bubbling Belle, by Tsunami Slew
For a Louisiana Derby winner, no one seems to be paying much attention to him. He's a consistent closer, the type who often come late in the Derby and pick up a piece of it. But he'll to really step up to take it all.
12 -- Invisible Ink
/Todd Pletcher/Thunder Gulch-Conquistress, by Conquistador Cielo
He's consistent, and he has the pedigree, but he doesn't have to speed to win from close up and hasn't shown a big enough stretch punch to mow 'em down. Looks to be a grinder type and should be in a good position.
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: SONGANDAPRAYER is yet another big, grand-looking horse in this year's field, but the scenario of the race doesn't seem to fit his style. He's a very talented colt and will win his share of major stakes, but he'll have his work cut for him in the Derby. GIFT OF THE EAGLE is improving and Derby Trial likely will determine his status.
ARCHIVED PREVIOUS WEEKLY REPORTS:Week 13--April 16Week 12--April 9Week 11--April 2Week 10--March 26Week 9--March 19Week 8--March 12Week 7--March 5Week 6--Feb. 26Week 5--Feb. 19Week 4--Feb. 12Week 3--Feb. 5Week 2--Jan. 29Week 1--Jan. 22