18 -- Equality/Graham Motion; Mt. Livermore-Equilibrate, by Gone West
When he sailed by Political Attack in the Tampa Bay Derby, with the rider up in the saddle and his hands motionless, it certainly was one of the highlight moments of the year. But we'd like him a lot more if he weren't taking the easy road and going in the new Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream. Having to go into the Derby without having met top-class 3-year-olds and not having raced over 1 1/16 miles is going to make it difficult for him.
19 -- USS Tinosa/Jerry Hollendorfer; Foxhound-Angel Puss, by Wolf Power
If he keeps running as hard as he's been running, he has a shot to knock off the favorites in the Santa Anita Derby. He's already shown he can rate just off the pace and can get the distance with no problem, and if the leaders start backing up at all, he'll be right there to mow them down.
20 -- Easy Grades/Ted West; Honor Grades-Itsoeasy, by Easy Goer
He's the main closer in the Santa Anita Derby, that is if the San Rafael was any indication of his true ability. We're still not sure, as the race played out similar to the San Vicente when a maiden was flying late to get second. But we do love this colt's breeding and expect him to keep improving. Definitely worth a shot.
21 -- Easyfromthegitgo/Steve Asmussen; Dehere-Montera, by Easy Goer
If he preps in the Lexington, he like several others will have to go into the Derby having never raced farther than 1 1/16 miles. Could be more of a Preakness prep. If he runs in the Blue Grass Stakes, then he could be a forgotten horse, and surprise a lot of people in the Derby. He's probably a better horse than people think.
22 -- Booklet/John Ward; Notebook-Crafty Bobbie, by Bob's Dusty
He could be very tough in the Blue Grass Stakes, and it certainly wouldn't surprise us to see him return to his Fountain of Youth form, especially if you have one of those notorious Keeneland speed-biased tracks. But remember, Blue Grass winners and Derby winners have become two distinct entities. One no longer equates to the other.
23 -- Mayakovsky/Patrick Biancone; Matty G-Joy to Raise, by Raise a Man
Biancone really turned the screws on him to get him ready for the Gotham. Now he ships back to California and stretches out to 1 1/8 miles. It's hard to imagine him duplicating his Gotham score and not regressing slightly. If he can pull this one off, then maybe he is something special. But to then make another jump to 1 1/4 miles is asking an awful lot.
24 -- Changeintheweather/Dave Bell; Gone West-Meteor Colony, by Pleasant Colony
He could give Repent a tussle in the Illinois Derby, and if he can make a big leap forward against one of the Derby favorites, then his super pedigree can carry him to the next level on Derby Day. But first he has to show something against decent competition.
25 -- Tails of the Crypt/John Ross; Regal Classic-Cryptic Tune, by Cryptoclearance
There's been mention of him pointing for the Lexington Stakes, which would mean he'll have no 1 1/8 mile races under him. Horses do not win the Derby never having been farther than 1 1/16 miles, but that doesn't mean he couldn't be a factor on Derby Day if he continues to improve the way he has been.
26 -- Nokoma/Todd Pletcher; Pulpit-Eliza Blue, by Icecapade
Yes, he gets yet another chance, despite his two dismal efforts this year. His last was just too bad to be true, and Pletcher says he's "tearing the barn down." So, if he's willing to give him another shot in the Wood, we'll keep the flickering embers lit for one more race.
27 -- Wild Horses/Todd Pletcher; Saint Ballado-Waltzing with Deb, by Robyn Dancer
Don't know that he's better than stablemate Charioteer, but he's on a better schedule, getting a 1 1/8-mile race in him against top-quality horses. He's still playing catch-up and would have to run a monster race in Arkansas Derby to be considered a legitimate Derby contender.
28 -- Charioteer/Todd Pletcher; Silver Deputy-New Wave, by Dynaformer
We'd like him a lot more if he were going in the Arkansas Derby instead of the Aventura, which is only 1 1/16 miles. The one thing this colt needs to prove is his stamina and his ability to rate, and we feel he needs a 1 1/8-mile race to do that and have him ready for the Derby.
29 -- Private Emblem/Steve Asmussen; Our Emblem-Merion Miss, by Halo
Asmussen's third big 3-year-old, he won the Southwest and skipped the Rebel to go straight into the Arkansas Derby. Not sure he wants to go much farther than a mile or 1 1/8 miles, but is still a solid threat, at least up to nine furlongs.
30 -- Peekskill/Tony Reinstedler; Meadowlake-Premier Mombo, by Premiership
His third in the Florida Derby allowes him to go on to the next step if that's what his connections have in mind. But he still has a long way to go to prove himself a legitimate Derby contender.