Derby Crop 2005: Big Second Wave About to Hit
Photo: Skip Smith
Flamenco, winning Calder's Jack Price Juvenile.
The Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) is history, and all the race did was pretty much complicate matters. Afleet Alex, Sun King, Roman Ruler and company still look legitimate, despite being upset by Euro invader Wilko. Now it's time to brace for the post Breeders' Cup wave that is about to unleash some new, exciting prospects for next spring's classics.

In alphabetical order:

Apprentice -- This Bobby Frankel-trained son of A.P. Indy broke his maiden by a neck in his second start at Belmont, beating a nice colt in Flagstaff. Dynamite female family makes him a legitimate Derby horse on pedigree. And he is inbred 4x4 to Buckpasser, which is as strong a pedigree angle as you can find. Next start will tell a lot.

Buzzards Bay -- Jeff Mullins recently purchased this Calder-based son of Marco Bay for Fog City Stable, which owns Roman Ruler. After finishing third and second sprinting, he stretched out to a mile and turned in an explosive move to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths. His sire is a son of Copelan, and his broodmare sire, Seneca Jones, is a son of Alydar out of the top-class filly Tiffany Lass. But most important, his maternal great-grandsire is Arts and Letters, out of a Bold Hour mare, giving him a ton of stamina. He also is inbred three times to Ribot. Talk about a potential success story, he failed to meet his reserve three times and was bought back for $20,000, $6,000, and $20,000. Keep an eye on this one.

Cherokee Path -- Exciting colt by Cherokee Run from Tom Amoss' barn. He's won two of three, and his last – a 3 3/4-length off-the-pace allowance score at Churchill in 1:10 3/5 – stamps him as a colt to watch. Female family loaded with class and stamina, and third dam is female grass champion Del La Rose.

Defer -- Shug McGaughey colt ran into a monster in Rockport Harbor in Nashua Stakes (gr. III), but made a good run before having to settle for a distant second. It was only his second start and he should keep improving. Defeated Apprentice in professional maiden score. By Danzig, out of a strong Wheatley Stable tail-female family, tracing to the great Grey Flight, mixed with solid Rokeby blood through Key to the Mint. Good combination of speed and stamina.

Deputy Indy -- Another promising son of A.P. Indy, out of a Deputy Minister mare. Won seven-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct at first asking, and his time of 1:23 was a second and three-fifths faster than the other division. A $350,000 yearling purchase trained by Stan Hough.

Diamond Isle -- Doesn't really belong here, having already placed in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) and Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes (gr. III), but this colt's female family is so awesome he deserves to be mentioned. Sire Gilded Time is mainly a speed influence, but has sired two-turn fillies Elloluv and Mandy's Gold. Female family is as good as you'll find. His four fourth-generation dams have produced Danzig, Buckpasser, Pleasant Colony, and Hoist the Flag. Dam is inbred to War Admiral, and that is a very rare gem to discover. Trained by Kenny McPeek, he looks like a top-class colt in the making.

Electric Light -- Silver Ghost colt out of a Nijinsky II mare, trained by Nick Zito, he wired a maiden field at Churchill Downs in second start, winning by 2 1/4 lengths going seven furlongs. This Live Oak Stud homebred should have no trouble stretching out.

Flamenco -- Not exactly a new face, having run six times already, but this Todd Pletcher colt by Gone West's son Dance Master is really developing into a runner. Looked good winning the Cowdin at Belmont and Jack Price Juvenile at Calder, and has placed in the Hopeful (gr. I) and Sanford (gr. II). Out of a Fly So Free mare, it's hard to get a good gauge on his pedigree. Lots of mile influences, with enough stamina to make him intriguing.

Funk -- Another Pletcher colt from the connections of Ashado and Purge, this son of Unbridled's Song was an impressive debut winner at Sararoga. After a troubled third at Monmouth, he stretched out to a mile and romped by 7 1/4 lengths in a mile allowance race at the Meadowlands. Solid pedigree top and bottom. He is a possibility for the Remsen.

Galloping Grocer -- Yes, another New York-bred sensation, having galloped in his three starts against state-breds. Gets first major test in Remsen (gr. II) against Rockport Harbor, whose three victories have pretty much mirrored this colt. A John Nerud masterpiece, being inbred to Rough'n Tumble and Intentionally. Trainer Dominick Schettino would be a newcomer to the Derby trail.

Ginger's Fella -- Don't know what to make of this Calder-based colt. The son of Rizzi couldn't win for a $16,000 tag, then, after a dull fifth stretching out to a mile, he ran out of his skull, coming from sixth, 8 1/2 lengths back at the top of the stretch to win by 7 1/2 lengths in another mile race. He did have trouble coming out of the gate in his first three races. Trained by Manny Azpurua, he has a very strong female family that is loaded with class and stamina, which should compliment the speed of his sire.

Killenaule -- Talk about toughness and consistency, this son of Fusaichi Pegasus, trained by Todd Pletcher, has finished in the money in all eight of his starts and is coming off victories in small stakes at Meadowlands and Delaware Park going 1 1/16 miles. Was relegated to Monmouth second string, but is now with the big boys at Belmont. Remsen is also a possibility.

Kirkendahl -- This could be a live one to watch. Menifee colt was strong in 6 1/2-furlong debut, winning by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:16 4/5 after battling through fractions of :21 3/5 and :44 1/5. Wonderful blend of speed and stamina on both sides, but should run all day, tracing to Graustark and Princequillo in tail-female. Trainer Ted H. West will have to get him to eventually settle off the pace.

Magna Graduate -- One of the best-bred colts you'll see this year, with champions all through his pedigree. Love combination of third-generation sires Seattle Slew and Alleged. Sire, Honor Grades, is a half-brother to A.P. Indy. Patrick Byrne-trained colt, he's won two of four, and beat a good allowance field going 1 1/16 miles in his last start following runner-up effort in Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III). Race was flattered by third-place finisher, Copy My Notes, who came back to win allowance race. Has been running on the lead after stretching out.

Patriot Act -- Still a maiden, and had an off day in maiden company last time out after turning in two explosive performances against Sun King in Belmont maiden and Consolidator in Breeders' Futurity. In both races, he displayed a brilliant turn of foot on the far turn. Trainer Neil Howard will bring him to Fair Grounds and start fresh. A son of A.P. Indy, his female family is pretty much all Fred Hooper breeding. Definitely one to watch, but needs to win a race.

Pavo -- A son of Marquetry, this Jennifer Pedersen-trained colt looked good breaking his maiden at a mile at Aqueduct by five lengths, defeating a nice colt in Datsyuk. Solid, deep pedigree, and mare has to be one of the best-named horses around. Her sire is Fred Astaire, and her dam is Grope, hence the name Grab Gingerly.

Premium Tap -- The prediction is that this John Kimmel colt will be the next hyped youngster after his resounding nine-length romp in a six-furlong maiden race, run in a brisk 1:09 3/5. This followed two off-the-board finishes after some heavy-duty bumping incidents at the start. If you're looking for a super Derby pedigree top and bottom, look no further. He's by Pleasant Tap, and his dam is by Thirty Six Red (by Slew o' Gold), out of an Affirmed mare. And most important, he's inbred 3x4 to Stage Door Johnny. As special as it is finding the name Stage Door Johnny once, it's a major deal finding him top and bottom.

Seize the Day -- Kristin Mulhall looks to have a runner in this son of Montbrook, who romped by 11 lengths in 1:09 4/5 first time out at Santa Anita. Pedigree looks a bit iffy regarding a mile and a quarter, but there's enough there to keep Derby hopes alive if he's good enough and learns to conserve his speed. He'll get a huge test in the Prevue Stakes when he tackles Declan's Moon.

Shorty Knudtson -- This is another Kimmel colt, and the one who won the slower run division the day Deputy Indy won. But this was quite a race to see, as the son of Thunder Gulch, who was slammed into at the start, came from almost 15 lengths back nearing the head of the stretch to win going away by three in his career debut..

Social Probation -- One of several promising Carl Nazger youngsters, along with Bucharest, Wahran, and War Tempo. This son of Jules won his first two starts in gutsy efforts. After finishing fourth, going six-wide in the James Ellis Juvenile, he ran a nice steady second behind Straight Line in the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III), again taking the overland route.

Straight Line -- Certainly not a new face any longer after his five-length victory in the Iroquois, but he's being mentioned because his 80-year-old trainer and part-owner, Harvey Vanier, has already turned down a substantial offer for the colt from a prominent trainer. He's a son of Boundary, out of a Strawberry Road mare, and has a good blend of speed, stamina, and grass breeding.

Survivalist -- Another good one from the Shug McGaughey barn, and another son of Danzig. Major class influences throughout his pedigree, and he was very impressive breaking his maiden at a mile by 8 1/2 lengths. Big, strong colt; packs a lot of muscle.

Vitruvian -- This son of Lemon Drop Kid   is Bobby Frankel's main hope for next year, and he looked awfully good winning second time out by 10 3/4 lengths going 1 1/16 miles. Time was a slow 1:47 3/5, but the track was pretty deep and he won convincingly. Plenty of stamina top and bottom and should relish the longer distances.

Nothing else to get too excited about from Southern California just yet. Best performances have been by Cal-breds, such as Texcess, who won Cal Cup Juvenile, then came back and won allowance race in open company against Bob Baffert-trained Chips are Down; Uncle Denny, who is undefeated in two starts with his last by disqualification; and Mr Charlie D, winner of his only start. Also, Arkansas-bred Megabyte, a maiden winner at Santa Anita, is improving for Vladimir Cerin. And the Sunny Slope Stakes was won by a Washington-bred, Seattles Best Joe.

Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) runner-up, Boston Glory, could be a good one for Eoin Harty. Steve Asmussen has a pair of recent Kentucky maiden winners in Stray Cat Blues, who won going seven furlongs, and Razor, a winner at five furlongs

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