Few Changes in Latest Ratings of Derby Contenders by Steve Haskin

Few Changes in Latest Ratings of Derby Contenders by Steve Haskin
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Redskin Warrior, newcomer to Haskin's list of leading Kentucky Derby contenders.
The Nick Zito-trained pair of Birdstone and Eurosilver lead Action This Day in the latest installment of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender analysis by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.

1 -- Birdstone/Nick Zito/Grindstone-Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird.
Question is whether he can stand up to the physical grind. Zito handling him with care; may opt for Lane's End Stakes.

2 -- Eurosilver/Nick Zito/Unbridled's Song-Russian Tango, by Nijinsky II.
Headed for Swale. Zito wants to make sure he peaks on Derby Day, not in one of the two-turn preps.

3 -- Action This Day/Dick Mandella/Kris S.-Najecam, by Trempolino.
Some feel he's too slow, and won a subpar Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he's done little wrong. Still the one to beat.

4 -- Read the Footnotes/Richard Violette/Smoke Glacken-Baydon Belle, by Al Nasr.
He proved what he's made of, and is now battle-hardened. May need to take a step backwards.

5 -- Master David/Bobby Frankel/Grand Slam-Nadra, by Sadler's Wells.
Gets Prado for Florida Derby. Very efficient stride, and gets stronger the farther he goes.

6 -- St Averil/Rafael Becerra/Saint Ballado-Avie's Fancy, by Lord Avie.
Form of his races has held up very well. Has the pedigree, with a good blend of speed and finishing power.

7 -- Gradepoint/Neil Howard/A.P. Indy-Class Kris, by Kris S.
Has put together a series of workmanlike victories, stepping up in class each time; gets the job done.

8 -- Tapit/Michael Dickinson/Pulpit-Tap Your Heels, by Unbridled.
Things are moving forward again; may tackle the Florida Derby in his 3-year-old debut.

9 -- Lion Heart/Patrick Biancone/Tale of the Cat-Satin Sunrise, by Mr. Leader.
Worked 7 furlongs for San Rafael. Only two pre-Derby starts with his pedigree is a tough task.

10 -- Value Plus/Todd Pletcher/Unbridled's Song-Roll Over Baby, by Rollin On Over.
Pletcher knows he has to test him now; will point for the Florida Derby. No doubting talent.

11 -- Tiger Hunt/Ralph Nicks/Kris S.-Thega, by Conquistador Cielo.
Has a big stretch kick and will get the distance. Been working with blinkers. Good play at a price.

12 -- Redskin Warrior/Jennifer Pedersen/ Indian Charlie-Southerncomfortgal, by Hermitage
Big, beautiful stride and tons of ability. Best Turn score was brilliant; could be something special. Gotham next.

13 -- Borrego/Beau Greely/El Prado-Sweet as Honey, by Strike the Gold.
Improving with every race. Heading to Louisiana Derby.

14 -- Swingforthefences/Richard Violette/Boston Harbor-Varnish, by Cox's Ridge.
Boston Harbors not known for distance, but his allowance win was visually impressive.

15 -- The Cliff's Edge/Nick Zito/Gulch-Zigember, by Danzig.
Looked to have Sam Davis won but hung at 1-2 after losing a lot of ground on turn. Needs to rebound in Rebel.

16 -- Mr. Jester/Steve Wren/Silver Deputy-Future Pretense, by Fappiano.
Should improve off second in Risen Star. Tough, consistent colt. Rebel next.

17 -- Odds On/Bob Baffert/Silver Charm-Bluffing Girl, by Pine Bluff.
Tough, rugged colt, reminiscent of sire. Needs to harness speed if he's going to stretch out.

18 -- Eddington/Mark Hennig/Unbridled-Fashion Star, by Chief's Crown.
Still has to beat winners, still a bit green. Improved big-time with blinkers; seems to have bright future.

19 -- Wimbledon/Bob Baffert/Wild Rush-Strawberry Clover, by Darn That Alarm.
Impressive in 8-length maiden score as Baffert finally got him to relax.

20 -- Minister Eric/Dick Mandella/Old Trieste-Musical Minister, by Deputy Minister.
Versatile colt always runs his race. 6 1/2-furlongs on turf is not ideal prep heading into March.

21 -- Shadowland/Ralph Nicks/Distant View-Fire and Shade, by Shadeed.
Gets Pat Day for Louisiana Derby. On the improve; could be dangerous.

22 -- White Mountain Boy/Phil Schoenthal/Meadowlake-La Sarto, by Cormorant.
Have to admire everything about this colt; tough, game, and versatile. Runs next in Battaglia at Turfway.

23 -- Lucky Pulpit/Clifford Sise/Pulpit-Lucky Soph, by Cozzene.
Stepped up big-time in Santa Catalina coming off the grass; needs to step up again.

24 -- Preachinatthebar/Bob Baffert/Silver Charm-Holy Nola, by Silver Deputy.
Consistent and closes well, but needs to show more of a kick in final furlong. Louisiana Derby next.

25 -- Gran Prospect/Pete Vestal/Crafty Prospector-Lilac Lane, by Bahri.
Improved with every race last year; strong stretch runner. Will prep for Rebel in Feb. 28 allowance race.

HORSES TO WATCH: Quintons Gold Rush exciting prospect could leap up to Top 10, but on course to have only four starts. Mustanfar, strayed off Derby trail by running in Palm Beach on grass. Hard-knocking Limehouse looking to stretch out again. Breakaway; 9 1/2-length alowance winner for Neil Howard. Skipaslew, winner of two straight stakes in Northern California. Last Minute Detail, big closing kick sprinting, ready to stretch out. Judith's Wild Rush, Canadian champ working brilliantly at Belmont; Silver Minister dominating Turfway preps. Sir Oscar gets Lasix, new trainer. Shaniko should show big improvement next time. Capac returns to Laurel for Miracle Wood. Fire Slam, tough, consistent; distance a question. Friends Lake back working steadily after Holy Bull third.

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