With a lull in the stakes action, this is a good time to complete a Top 20 list in what has been a wide-open year.
Time to reevaluate some of the horses and races, and a look at the Sham Stakes and several classy maiden and allowance races.
Todd Pletcher has no less that nine horses on the Derby trail, with Eskendereya shooting up to the #1 spot.
Searching for overlays in this weekend's stakes and a look at Odysseus' resounding victory at Tampa Bay.
Rule, Caracortado, and Sidney's Candy dominate weekend stakes in Florida and California.
Here is a representative group of 23 horses in alphabetical order to challenge the heavy hitters.
A look back at last weekend's races and a profile of impressive Fair Grounds allowance winner Hotep.
WinStar adds another Kentucky Derby hopeful in Drosselmeyer, winner of an allowance race at Gulfstream Sunday.
Featuring '10 to Watch,' with an eye on a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Sunday.
Trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher hold the most firepower as Steve Haskin takes his first look at the trail to the 2010 Triple Crown.
Here are several items trainers should include on their list of things to do.
As a prelude to the Derby Dozen, we are publishing a Top 25 list made up solely of horses who have not yet run in a stakes.
This final Derby Trail column before departing for Louisville is more of a potpourri of thoughts, scenarios, angles, trivia, and a touch of nonsense.
We're getting close to judgment day -- finding that single horse or betting angle or most attractive overlay possibilities. Until the horses can be observed in the flesh starting next week, here are some of the most memorable moments on this year's Derby trail in one person's opinion that will help in finding potential overlays.
Like all quarters, General Quarters is a two-sided coin. So far, it's only come up heads, with the face of Tom McCarthy and his Cinderella story receiving all the press. But a flip of the coin to the tails side will reveal the faded and forgotten face of Mark Miller.
Starting from the first Derby Dozen, I had Old Fashioned ranked No. 1 for five consecutive weeks, despite many people insisting he hadn't beaten anyone and would not stay the mile and a quarter. Prior to the Rebel, my comment on Derby Dozen concluded with, "Don't expect any fireworks until the Arkansas Derby."
It's not quite the Sunshine Millions, but this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is looking like a regional battle between California- and Florida-based horses, who at this point appear on their way to occupying the top four favorite roles in the Run for the Roses.
Saturday's big three Kentucky Derby preps should be pretty formful, with one or two standouts in each race. But, there's a lot more to these races than who is going to win. While they are all prestigious events, let's not forget the fact that they are indeed preps.
See story for startling revelation and other peeks into this year's Kentucky Derby crystal ball.
There are three ways of looking at the Florida Derby (gr. I): the best horse won, the best horse finished second, and both horses ran sensational races and established themselves as major Kentucky Derby contenders. The consensus would have to be number three.
On several occasions over the past few years, Todd Pletcher has reached into his hat to pull out a rabbit, and in most cases the trick didn't go quite as planned. Despite some bad hare days, Pletcher has decided to try his luck at prestidigitation once again in Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I).
Lost in the overwhelming spectacle of the Kentucky Derby and the arduous road leading to Churchill Downs are the little-known ironies and twists of fate that get played out behind the scenes.
As often happens on the Kentucky Derby trail, they fell like proverbial bowling pins last weekend, although two of the bigger names reinforced their strong position. Not all the vanquished will be taken off the trail, as some deserve another chance after racing on less than desirable surfaces, but they have put themselves in a desperate situation.
It is the second week in March, the second Future Wager is upon us, and that means the Kentucky Derby contenders are pretty well established...or are they? That's what we'll find out this weekend.
March means many things to owners and trainers of horses on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail. There's the nail-biting, the sleepless nights, and the early morning phone calls that every owner dreads. And for many it sadly means the end of the road.
I Want Revenge is a horse on a mission. The son of Stephen Got Even has traveled across the country to get a head start on his compatriots back home to see how he handles the dirt in the Gotham Stakes.
The last Saturday in November is NYRA's farewell to grade I and grade II racing, with the running of the Cigar Mile (gr. I) and the grade II Remsen and Demoiselle Stakes for 2-year-olds. But last year, there was a buzz in the air that had nothing to do with any of those three races.
Because of the lack of 3-year-old races this week, we're going into full detail on Dunkirk's race. Another reason we're giving it a good deal of space is the big buzz it created. The question is, was it warranted?
Although there was nothing over the weekend to knock your proverbial socks off, there were a few races that could steer you toward a horse or two as potential Derby material. With the Southwest Stakes having just been run, we'll briefly discuss the race and go over it in more detail next week.
So, 23 "elite" 3-year-olds have been chosen to make up the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager field. Well, several of those who didn't make the cut are up in arms over the selections and are offering a challenge to the so-called leading Derby contenders.
It was an excellent weekend on the old trail, with some first-class performances, not only by the winners, but several of the losers as well. The latest Top 15 follows the column.
Because the Top 30 list took up a great deal of Monday's column, we'll go double duty this week and catch up on some updates and ramblings and look at the Risen Star Stakes.
Either tracks like Gulfstream and Oaklawn are getting noticeably slower or the horses are. From all indications, it is the tracks, which is fine if they keep horses sounder. (See end of text for first official Top 30)
The first Derby Dozen comes out next week, but we'll get a jump on it with a more comprehensive look before this weekend's stakes. Then we'll make any adjustments based on the results. So, this is more of a speculative list, with a great deal riding on the Hutcheson and Holy Bull Stakes.
What do the following horses have in common? Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Alydar, Damascus, Buckpasser, Easy Goer, Riva Ridge, Holy Bull, Spend a Buck, and Swale?
Before we get to this past week's races, including Monday's Smarty Jones Stakes, there is a pedigree pattern developing this year that you don't normally see to this degree.
With the first Derby Dozen list scheduled for early February, this is a good time to make up a Top 10 list of horses who haven't accomplished enough just yet to make the official list, but who have a good chance of making it in the near future.
Two rocket ships will be launched at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, and don't be surprised if a few of the passengers wind up landing in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
It looks as though the upcoming crop of Derby contenders will be the most stamina-laden in years, with powerful pedigrees, especially on the female side, in abundance.
Yes, it is early to start thinking about Kentucky Derby future bets, but this is the time of year when you can find the megabombs if you're willing to put your money on a wing and a prayer.
With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.
Louie Roussel didn't like the weather forecast for Saturday, or Sunday, and Monday for that matter, so he moved Recapturetheglory's five-furlong work to Friday morning.
The first morning at Churchill Downs brought sunny skies and warm temperatures, as the Kentucky Derby horses began their final stretch to racing's biggest day. From here on, there is no room for error. We'll give a brief rundown of the day's activities and continue with the plusses and minuses of each contender.
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
With the Derby getting closer, we're doubling up this week to take a look at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and mostly to discuss what may turn out to be one of the most important works on this year's Derby trail.
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
Well, we're down to our final two major preps, the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), with the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) thrown in for good measure. The question right now is: what did we learn from last Saturday's preps?
By now, just about every superlative has been used to describe Big Brown's performance in the Florida Derby (gr. I). How many times do you think the word "freak" has been uttered since Saturday? Well, there is no doubt that the colt has accomplished freakish things in his brief career, but so did Curlin, and he couldn't win the Derby off three career starts.
Despite being ranked No. 1 or 2 on just about every Derby poll, Pyro, for some reason, has been branded by many a slow horse and simply the best of a bad lot. Yes, the pace in his two starts this year has been slow, and his final times have not exactly set the Fair Grounds teletimer aflame, but is this horse really as slow as many of the experts say he is?
On Saturday, in one corner of the country, the mighty Pyro once again crushed his foes, winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in grand style. On the same day, in the opposite corner of the country, a humbly-bred colt who sold for meager $1,000 as a yearling, Autism Awareness, mowed down his field to win the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).
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