Steve Haskin's Top 20 Kentucky Derby Contenders (Cont.)

In preference order, with horse/trainer/breeding

Click on horse's name to access Contender page

11 -- Holiday Thunder/John Ward/Thunder Gulch-Magical Holiday, by Slew o' Gold

Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Gulfstream Friday for 2001 debut in Fountain of Youth Stakes. Although he hasn't won a stakes, he's placed in all three of Kentucky's big races for 2-year-olds and you have to love his consistency. Lots of class and stamina on female side, and like dam's inbreeding to Buckpasser.

12 -- City Zip/Linda Rice/Carson City-Baby Zip, by Relaunch

First time back at 3 is always a big test, and although he didn't win, he passed the test beautifully by flying down the stretch to just miss by a half-length against a tough, fast rival. Still believe he's a two-turn horse if he just lays back and makes the one run rather than show speed and drop back on the turn. Tough and consistent, should supply a lot of big moments this year.

13 -- Burning Roma/Anthony Dutrow/Rubiano-While Rome Burns, by Overskate

Had his first breeze at Tampa Bay Downs, a half in :49. Really like this colt, but would prefer he were with his trainer. This odd arrangement really goes against the norm, and would sure set a precedent on how to train for the Derby.

14 -- Windsor Castle/Frank Alexander/Lord Carson-Frigidette, by It's Freezing

He's had more works at Gulfstream than any of the leading Derby horses. If he can repeat that monster closing kick in the Remsen, he'll be tough. But with his pedigree he still has to find a way to stretch another eighth of a mile into that big move. Dealt setback in his training regimen due to a fever following his last workout and will miss a scheduled start in the Fountain of Youth.

15 -- Talk Is Money/John Scanlan/Deputy Minister-Isle Go West, by Gone West

Just have a feeling this $1.8 million yearling and $785,000 weanling is the real deal. Still has a lot to prove, but he showed a lot stretching out for the first time in Miracle Wood and out-battling a talented and much more experienced colt in Marciano. Will have to wait for him to leave Maryland and tackle bigger game before we really know what's there.

16 -- Saint Verre/Shug McGaughey/Saint Ballado -- Margot Verre, by Tom Rolfe

Don't like having ankle chips removed so late in 2-year-old year, but this colt's two wins have been extremely impressive. McGaughey taking cautious attitude. In training at Palm Beach Downs.

17 -- Denied/Bob Baffert/Bertrando-Granse Oaks, by Nureyev

Baffert will run him in the inaugural Sham Stakes, which basically will be a non-winners allowance test. Didn't show much of a turn of foot in the stretch in Santa Catalina, but he hung in there and matched strides with the top two, who could turn out to be major players.

18--Global Gait/Bob Baffert/Concern-Celestial Jazz, by Dancing Count

Worked a sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00. Baffert in a dilemma where to run him. He's won at a mile and an eighth, so mile San Rafael doesn't seem too logical, but if he doesn't run there he'll either have to wait until March for San Felipe or head to Northern California, where Baffert has not had any luck.

19 -- Monarchos/John Ward/Maria's Mon-Regal Band, by Dixieland Band

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 at Gulfstream. Looking for non-winners allowance race going two turns. Young sire could come out like gangbusters and you couldn't ask for a classier female family. If he continues to move forward, the sky's the limit.

20 -- Learing at Kathy/Vladimir Cerin/Fear Farm-Flo Jo, by Graustark

Worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 over a good track. Impressive in allowance victory at Santa Anita going 7 furlongs, now looks ready to be competitive in mile San Rafael Stakes. Another colt with incredibly balanced dosage profile, dominated by class category -- 5-4-25-4-2.

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: EXPRESS TOUR has adapted well in Dubai and has been working impressively. Major turf winner STARTAC tries dirt for first time in Turf Paradise Derby Saturday. SAM LORD'S CASTLE stretched out beautifully, winning Lecomte Stakes drawing clear. Favorite FIFTY STARS closed well, but too little too late. Cowdin winner FISTFITE rebounded from pair of defeats to romp in Gulf allowance sprint Jan. 22. LIBERTY TOWNSHIP was impressive in Gulfstream sprint score Jan. 27. Sapling winner SHOOTER breezed a half in :48 4/5 at Gulfstream. MASTER PLANNER came out of Holy Bull with high fever; may try to rebound in Fountain of Youth. Nashua winner OMMADON had first breeze of year, :36 2/5 on Belmont training track. Watch out for ROMOLO'S FRITZI, a Team Valor purchase last year who won at first asking for new owners; in training with John Terranova.

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