Steve Haskin's Derby Watch--Week 12 (Cont.)

19 -- Straight Gin/Nick Zito; Go for Gin-Valeta, by Procida

This is strictly a longshot guess based on his proven inconsistency. A horse like this is capable of popping a good one at any time, and it is important to note that in his maiden victory he defeated Blueformer, who came back to win by almost 4 lengths, and Essayons, who came back to win by 15 lengths. And in his next race, he defeated Marasca, who came back to win the $250,000 Aventura Stakes. If Zito decides to put him in the Blue Grass, and you're willing to toss the Spiral, you may get more than you bargained for.

20 -- Holdthehelm/Paul Assinesi; Helmsman-Shanade, by Sentimental Slew

This horse has intrigued us all year. He seems to be able to handle any type of surface at any distance. A quarter crack kept him out of the Spiral, so he should be a bit short for the Arkansas Derby, not having run since Feb. 24. But a big effort of any kind and he'll be a fun horse to have in the Derby.

21 -- Nokoma/Todd Pletcher; Pulpit-Eliza Blue, by Icecapade

Talk about inconsistent, we don't know how many chances this colt is going to be given, but if Pletcher wants to give it another shot in the Wood, we have to at least acknowledge his chances, based on his big effort at Aqueduct last fall.

22 -- Ocean Sound/Jim Cassidy; Mujadil-Ossana, by Tejano

He ran a big race in the Rebel Stakes, battling back in the final furlong. Cassidy did not want to see him on the lead that day, so you can probably look for him stalking Booklet in the Blue Grass. If Keeneland is speed-favoring, as it often is, then he could make his presence felt if Booklet falters at all.

23 -- Tails of the Crypt/John Ross; Regal Classic-Cryptic Tune, by Cryptoclearance

Another horse who will go in the Lexington and not have a 1 1/8-mile under him going into the Derby. He has the pedigree, he seems to be improving very quickly, and he has the right running style, so he should at least fit in the Derby picture.

24 -- Wild Horses/Todd Pletcher; Saint Ballado-Waltzing with Deb, by Robyn Dancer

We're looking for a big improvent from him in the Arkansas Derby, as long as he doesn't get involved in any speed duels. We'd like to see him sit back off the pace this time. He made an impressive appearance before the Rushaway, and seems to have the look of a good horse.

25 -- War Emblem/Frank Springer; Our Emblem-Sweetest Lady, by Lord at War

Connections seem to indicate he won't run in the Derby. His races at Sportsman's were almost too good to be true, especially his lofty 112 Beyer Speed Figure in the Illinois Derby. He has a lot of weight to pick up off that race and his best races obviously are when he has an uncontested lead. He's a grand-looking colt, but might be better off at nine furlongs.

26 -- 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.

27 -- Flying Dash/Neil Drysdale; Dashing Blade-Full Board, by Fabulous Dancer

We have no idea what to make of this colt, whose owners are intent on running him in the Derby. He had never run farther than six furlongs when he blew his field away in the one-mile Transylvania Stakes. But he's never run on dirt. He has the pedigree, but the Derby is a lot to ask of the horse.

28 -- It'sallinthechase/Wilson Brown; Take Me Out-Limestone Landing, by Red Ryder

This horse keeps plugging along picking up pieces of stakes, and did run a solid race finishing third in the Louisiana Derby. He could certainly do the same in the Arkansas Derby.

29 -- Laissezaller/Bill Mott; End Sweep-Laissez Faire, by Talinum

Another of the unusual international Derby horses whom we have no clue about. If he runs well enough in the Wood Memorial to go on to the Derby, he'll be the first ever starter to have two 1 1/4-miles under him, both against older horses. Mott saw the tapes of his races and was impressed with his last race at Lingfield.

30 -- Proud Citizen/D. Wayne Lukas; Gone West-Drums of freedom, by Green Forest

As it turns out, the Santa Anita Derby was a prep for the Lexington Stakes, and Lukas is convinced the colt is going to run a huge race, which would set him up for a run at the Kentucky Derby.

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