Steve Haskin's Kentucky Derby Top 20: March 26 Update

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 in right direction, and can now point for Blue Grass. Yes, track was blazing, but how many 3-year-olds could have run faster than 1:40 1/5 and :05 4/5 for the last 1/16th under no urging whatsoever? And he did it like a pro. Remember, he has already beaten Point Given in Champagne, while coming off a maiden sprint, so we already know what he's capable of against the best.

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

Turned in solid 5-furlong breeze in 1:01 1/5 at Gulfstream. Has all the tools and the pedigree to be something special. Scary to think there might be bigger and better things to come after monster Florida Derby.

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

Little is separating him and Monarchos for early Derby favoritism. Likely will face small field in Santa Anita Derby, and has to hope Crafty C.T. doesn't get loose on an easy lead. But he's so much the best out there, and has good tactical speed if he needs to be closer.

4 -- Street Cry/Saeed bin Suroor/Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy

Inability to come out on top in street fights is a concern, but he's so consistent, we still have to respect him. Nad al Sheba was favoring speed all night, he was in traffic turning for home, and had to make a long sustained move, being ridden hard for a half-mile. May have simply gotten tired. All that European distance blood might be more suited to a grinding running style. If he can get the jump on his foes earlier, he can keep going and avoid a fight. Only other way is to time his move to get him up right on the wire. We still feel he's going to run big in Louisville.
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5 -- Hero's Tribute/John Ward/Sea Hero -- Eastern Dawn, by Damascus

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 4/5 at Gulfstream. Heads to Kentucky, and should be ready for a big effort in the Blue Grass Stakes. Would like to see a quicker turn of foot in order to hit those holes when they open. Moves up with addition of Bailey, who will do all the right things with him and keep him out of trouble.

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

Breezed easy 5 furlongs in 1:03 1/5 at Churchill Downs. He'll be charging late in the Blue Grass, and you can bet Pat Day will not try to come through on the inside again. Ran big at Keeneland last year.

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

Also heading for Blue Grass, and if he has his foot problems under control, should improve off his effort in the Louisiana Derby. Hung tough down that long stretch and should love shorter stretch at Keeneland.

8 -- Invisible Ink/Todd Pletcher/Thunder Gulch-Conquistress, by Conquistador Cielo

Heading to Blue Grass Stakes. Looks to have good tactical speed and be able to sit in right behind the leaders, then kick on strongly for home. If he improves a little off Florida Derby, he should be a major contender.

9 -- Balto Star/Todd Pletcher/Glitterman-Miss Livi, by Devil's Bag

Sure loves to leave his opponents for dead. His Spiral score was so awesome, it's hard to know what to make of it. Smooth, powerful strides enable him to run foes into the ground. Seems to get stronger as the race progresses Pedigree more suited to distance than you think.

10 -- Congaree/Bob Baffert/Arazi-Mari's Sheba, by Mari's Book

Another colt coming off an awesome victory, but still has a lot of catching up to do, and will go into Derby off only four starts. But Baffert insists he'll be plenty fit, and has been touting him for a long time.

Continued. . . .

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