Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen; Point Given Still on Top

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

Baffert says he can't separate him and Congaree talent-wise, but this big, powerful chestnut has more foundation and more ways to beat you. Not as professional overall, but on race day, he's pure perfection.

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

Has history against him, with only four starts, but his talent is limitless. To go cross-country and beat a horse like Monarchos with so little experience, and in stakes debut, shows just how extraordinary he is.

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

Ward called the Wood just a scrimmage, and didn't want him to have to gut it out to chase down a top-class horse. He was under the whip a long way out, but was moving with authority in the final furlong.

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

Arrived safe and sound at Churchill, and it'll be interesting to see how he handles the track in his works. Important to monitor his coat and see if he can maintain it for 3 1/2 weeks. If he looks good, he'll run good.

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

Looked great on Saturday, but no wire-to-wire Blue Grass winner has won the Derby since Riva Ridge beat a weak field at Keeneland in 1972. What will he do pressing a powerhouse like Balto Star?

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

Like Monarchos, he should have regressed off his monster win in Spiral. Most likely did, but wasn't running against Congaree. Despite the slop and controlling the pace, he still ran a super race. This big gelding is for real.

7 -- Thunder Blitz /Joe Orseno/Holy Bull-Rasant, by Assert

This colt is dangerous because he's getting good fast and at the right time. He's been facing good horses all winter and finally put it together in Flamingo. Derby is big step up, but he should be competitive.

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

Hard to get a good gauge on him after decent effort in Blue Grass. He did finally kick in late, but never made a dent on the top two. He has a strong stretch kick, but does he have the quickness needed in the Derby?

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

No regrets at all sticking with him all year. Still feel he has the talent to be right among the leaders. Was climbing badly from the start, indicating he wasn't handling the track. Now in tough spot, having done so little running.

10 -- Jamaican Rum/James Cassidy/Exemplary Leader-Little Ricky S., by Runaway Groom

Made a statement for Point Given after huge effort at Oaklawn. This colt will run on anything. Bred to run long, and keeps improving. Despite greenness in stretch, he's our longshot special to hit the board in Derby.

11 -- Express Tour/Saeed bin Suroor/Tour d'Or-Express Fashion, by Private Express

With the list of live Derby horses shrinking, this is looking more and more like a year Godolphin will have a say in the outcome. Don't like the one start at all, but could make his presence felt on talent and guts.

12 -- Fifty Stars/Steve Asmussen/Quiet American-My Bubbling Belle, by Tsunami Slew

At least one horse upheld the Louisiana Derby form, giving him a bit more credibility. Remember, the Lone Star stretch is 400-feet shorter than Fair Grounds, and he'll more room to pick 'em off at Churchill.

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: SONGANDAPRAYER ran a big race in Blue Grass, but track was playing in his favor, and he was ducking in and out in stretch. We like a lot of things about this colt, but with lots of classy speedsters around, it'll make it tough for him to get a mile and a quarter. Looks very live for Preakness. INVISIBLE INK was sort of like the invisible horse in the Blue Grass; didn't run real good and didn't run real bad. Still needs to show more turn of foot to be competitive against the best. Kenny McPeek has two interesting colts who are on the improve. Illinois Derby runner-up SAINT DAMIEN has made great strides in recent weeks and a decision will be made Derby Week whether to go for the big one. GIFT OF THE EAGLE, ran a big race off layoff to finish third in Lone Star Derby. Heading to Derby Trial, and if he wins, he'll likely be wheeled right back in Derby. It looks as if PALMEIRO will be given a shot in Lexington Stakes to make amends for the Santa Anita Derby. He's a much better horse than he showed that day. Lukas will give it one last try in Lexington when he saddles TURNBERRY ISLE, who's been training super at Churchill. DISTILLED coming right back in two weeks. Derby a tough call two weeks after that. If GLOBAL GAIT runs big in Lexington, will Baffert have three in the Derby? GRIFFINITE coming right back off Lafayette score. A big race and he's likely heading for Derby.

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