Empire Maker, favorite for the Kentucky Derby, winning the Florida Derby.

Empire Maker, favorite for the Kentucky Derby, winning the Florida Derby.

Equi-Photo/Bill Denver

Steve Haskin's Derby Watch--Week 11 (April 1)

1--Empire Maker/Bobby Frankel; Unbridled-Toussaud, by El Gran Senor
Worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 1/5; may have one more work at Hollywood before heading to New York for the Wood Memorial. Frankel says he's going to train him lightly to make sure he doesn't go over the top too soon.

2--Atswhatimtalknbout/Ron Ellis; A.P. Indy-Lucinda K., by Red Ransom
With his reputation, expectations are very high in the Santa Anita Derby, and then we'll know just how serious a Derby horse this really is. No starts at 2, but five starts at 3 may neutralize that if he can handle it. Worked 5 furlongs in :58 4/5.

3--Kafwain/Bob Baffert; Cherokee Run-Swazi's Moment, by Moment of Hope
Worked 5 furlongs in :59 3/5 for Santa Anita Derby. Whether you like him or not, you have to respect him. He's still the only Derby contender who has proven his class over a period of time and who has run against the best, time and again. We'll see how far that class can take him.

4--Badge of Silver/Ronny Werner; Silver Deputy-Silveroo, by Silver Hawk
He's back breezing and on target for the Blue Grass Stakes. All he needs to show is that he's heading back in the right direction. We already know how brilliant he is, so he might as well save that brilliance until it really counts.

5--Ministers Wild Cat/Neil Drysdale; Deputy Minister-Hollywood Wildcat, by Kris S.
If any horse is eligible to show vast improvement over the next month it's this horse. As a May 21 foal, he's significantly younger than the other Derby contenders, and he gets blinkers for the Santa Anita Derby. Smart future book horse.

6--Peace Rules/Bobby Frankel; Jules-Hold to Fashion, by Hold Your Peace
Still would like him better if he had another race under him, especially with a pedigree that may be geared more for a mile and an eighth. He deserves a shot in the Derby, and would benefit from a good fight in the Blue Grass. Continues to work well, going a half in :47 1/5.

7--Brancusi/Patrick Biancone; Deputy Commander-Treize, by Alysheba
Drilled a sharp 6 furlongs in 1:12 3/5. All he really needs in the Blue Grass is to take another step forward, this time against a tough bunch of easterners, and he'll be in excellent shape to peak on Derby Day.

8--Offlee Wild/T.V. Smith; Wild Again-Alvear, by Seattle Slew
Sharp in :48 1/5 half-mile breeze. Like Badge of Silver, he's only looking to get back on track in the Blue Grass. But with all the time he's missed he needs to get a good stiff race in him. If he runs big and gets enough out of the race, he's another live one.

9--Domestic Dispute/Bob Baffert; Unbridled's Song-Majestical Moment, by Magesterial
A bit of an enigma. He has a lot to prove after uninspiring race in the San Felipe. But he was beaten only 3 lengths despite some erratic running and Bailey just sitting on him in the final furlong. Needs to get his mind in the game. Baffert turning the screws in the morning, working him 5 furlongs in :58 4/5 and :58 3/5.

10--Buddy Gil/Jeff Mullins; Eastern Echo-Really Rising, by For Really
There are many others with better breeding for 1 1/4 miles, and he may have won the San Felipe simply because he was the sharpest horse. But he's still the only horse to overcome that kind of rough stuff and still win.

11--New York Hero/Jennifer Pederson; Partner's Hero-Nin Two, by John Alden
Big, strong colt with a long, beautiful stride. He still has a lot of catching up to do from a speed standpoint, but he looks to be improving at the right time, and it's very possible we haven't seen anything near his best yet.

12--Ocean Terrace /Bob Hess; Saint Ballado-Crystal River, by Black Tie Affair
Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 2/5 for Santa Anita Derby. Lack of experience is still bothersome, but you have to have respect for an undefeated horse, especially one who is as tenacious as this colt. He's faced stern challenges, but no one has yet been able to pass him.

13--Lone Star Sky/Tom Amoss; Conquistador Cielo-Ministrada, by Deputy Minister
Things are coming together for this colt, who is an enticing future book bomb. He ran a big race in the Louisiana Derby, closing fast and wide against a severe speed-biased track, then came back with a :58 2/5 breeze. He's one of only two survivors from BC Juvenile. Some solid 2-year-old form and a stakes victory at Churchill Downs.