A P Valentine Tops Haskin's Top Contenders List

A P Valentine Tops Haskin's Top Contenders List
Photo: Barbara Livingston
A P Valentine tops Steve Haskin's first Kentucky Derby contenders' list.
Ranked in preference order, with horse/ trainer/breeding

Click on horse's name to access Contender Page

1-A P Valentine/ Nick Zito/A.P. Indy-Twenty Eight Carat, by Alydar

Back working after bucking shins in BC Juvenile. Extremely athletic, classy, and bred to run all day. Won Champagne off maiden win like a seasoned pro. Loved the way he exploded through small opening on the rail against top-class field. Most impressive 2-year-old we saw last year.

2-Point Given/Bob Baffert/Thunder Gulch-Turko's Turn, by Turkoman

This big, powerful chestnut is extremely versatile. Has speed or can come from way back, and has a quick turn of foot. Defeats have been as impressive as wins. A nose away from being clear-cut 2-year-old champ. Distance should be no problem. Favorite in all the Derby future books.

3--Macho Uno/Joe Orseno/Holy Bull-Primal Force, by Blushing Groom

Ton of ability and has accomplished some remarkable things for a green, inexperienced horse. Neck defeat in Hopeful coming off one maiden race and victory in BC Juvenile despite racing erratically showed how much talent there is. Had tendency to be studdish last year, but didn't seem to affect him on the track. Main question is 1 1/4 miles.

4--Dollar Bill/Dallas Stewart/Peaks and Valleys-Saratoga Game, by Saratoga Six

Ran a big race to finish second in Breeders' Futurity off maiden score over A P Valentine. Rebounded from BC Juvenile fiasco with impressive win in Kentucky Jockey Club. Good closing kick, and enough stamina on female side to get him 1 1/4 miles. Should rule the roost at Fair Grounds.

5 -- Street Cry/Eoin Harty/Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy

We've seen enough in the past two Derbys to know that Godolphin is on the right track. Now, they've finally gone about it the right way, with a solid 2-year-old campaign, then some good stamina and fitness building in the desert. This colt also is their first who has all the tools to win the Derby. Forget dosage on this one. He'll run all day, with lots of classy European stamina on female side. Had misfortune to run up against a tiger in Flame Thrower. If everything goes on schedule, it could be a "blue" Derby for the Americans.

6 -- Millennium Wind/Dave Hofmans/Cryptoclearance-Bali Babe, by Drone

He was expected to blow them away in the Santa Catalina after huge second in Hollywood Futurity, but had to settle for a hard-fought half-length victory under only 114 pounds. Runner-up, coming off maiden win, was giving him three pounds. This race actually should help him down the road, as his schedule will have him going into the Derby off only five starts. Half brother to Charismatic has the goods, but likely will not be seen for two months.

7--Hero's Tribute/John Ward/Sea Hero -- Eastern Dawn, by Damascus

Physically, a chip off the old block, with a ton of pedigree. Ran a huge race in the Iroquois, making a big move, only to be nailed on the wire. Has good natural speed, and was impressive winning Keeneland sprint on the front end in 1:22 4/5. Also ran big to break his maiden at Saratoga first time out. Had been slowed by a quarter crack, but is back in training, pointing for Florida Derby.

8 -- Meetyouathebrig/Elliott Walden/Out of Place-Always Be Mine, by Kris S

Despite distance pedigree, had the speed to win first time out going 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood. Breeders' Futurity was a toss out after he broke badly and was squeezed back. Came from the clouds to catch Hero's Tribute in the Iroquois. What made this race so impressive was that he nailed a closer who was running a winning race. Training at Payson Park for Fountain of Youth.

9 -- Palmeiro/John Sadler/Pleasant Tap-Fortune Pending, by Fortunate Prospect

Surprised everyone by battling back to finish a close second to Millennium Wind in Santa Catalina coming off maiden win at Hollywood Park. And he was giving the winner weight. Has shown big improvement with blinkers and stretching out in distance. Abundance of stamina, and how's this for a balanced dosage profile: 3-2-8-2-3. You can't more balanced than that. Dosage index is 1.00.

10--Mongoose/Bill Mott/Broad Brush-Salty Gal, by Cox's Ridge

Can't help but think back to Breeders' Cup week and watching this colt train. A gorgeous horse with a big, beautiful stride. Won Cradle Stakes first time around two turns before eventful trips in Breeders' Futurity and Iroquois. In latter, he was squeezed badly at the start, dropping back to 11th, but closed fast to finish fourth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. Mott would love to get on that elusive Derby trail and make it to Churchill with a top-class colt. This could be the one.

Contenders 11-20. . . .

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