Steve Haskin's Derby Watch (Cont.)

13--Region of Merit/Chris Clement; Touch Gold-Innocently Astray, by Gone West
We still don't much more about him now than we did before the Tampa Bay Derby, which basically turned into another allowance race for him and Aristocat. Had to work hard to put away a 34-1 shot who had never been over 7 furlongs and who had lost seven in a row going into the race. With that said, he still has won four straight and got the job done. He'll have to step up in his next race against far superior horses.

14--Ministers Wild Cat/Neil Drysdale; Deputy Minister-Hollywood Wildcat, by Kris S.
Drysdale is bringing him along slowly and steadily, trying to work out kinks. He still has a tendency to lug in down the stretch, but was more professional last time in the El Camino Real. He lost ground on the first turn and was wide on the far turn, but still had every chance to run down the winner. The jury is still out on him, and we'll know a lot more after the Santa Anita Derby.

15 -- Aristocat/Todd Pletcher; Tale of the Cat-Mended Fences, by Miswaki
Ran two different races in the Tampa Bay Derby. Looked awful on the far turn, as he was unable to keep up with the pace. Just when you thought he was going to get nothing, he came steamrolling down the middle of the track with long, powerful strides. The guess here is that he's still a bit immature, but has a good deal of ability and is eligible to show big improvement. Pletcher said, because of the way he ran on the turn, he may put blinkers on him as well. Inbred close up (3x3) to Mr. Prospector and has a great deal of stamina in his female family. If he can put it all together from start to finish, he could be a real sleeper.

16--Ten Most Wanted/Wally Dollase; Deputy Commander-Wanted Again, by Criminal Type

This is another colt who is eligible to improve big-time with experience. He got creamed coming out of the gate in the Sham and lost all chance, then ran an even race along the rail to finish third in the El Camino Real. But he did seem to find another gear late and was coming back at Ocean Terrace and Ministers Wild Cat, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. He's a big, good-looking horse who is just learning what it's all about. Good combination of mile speed and stamina, and Dollase is a great comeback story.

17--Trust N Luck/Ralph Ziadie; Montbrook-Bold Burst, by Dahar
Well, we know already that the Derby will have an honest pace. With this horse heading straight to Louisville, it should serve as an inducement for trainers of frontrunners to get their horses to sit back a little. This colt is fast and is going to be extremely fresh going into the Derby. We normally hate the idea of training up to the Derby with so much time in between, but it may be this colt's only chance to make an impact on the race, as another race could sour him after getting gobbled up by Empire Maker.

18--Lone Star Sky/Tom Amoss; Conquistador Cielo-Ministrada, by Deputy Minister
Showing just the right amount of improvement with each race to bring him up to the Derby the right way. Took all the worst of a speed-favoring track in the Louisiana Derby, but still was flying at the end to finish a good fourth. He has solid 2-year-old form and a big win at Churchill Downs, so he does have several things going for him. Likely will run next in the Blue Grass Stakes or Arkansas Derby.

19--Offlee Wild/T.V. Smith; Wild Again-Alvear, by Seattle Slew
No one knows how he's going to bounce back in the Blue Grass Stakes after missing so much training, but the feeling here is that he's worth the gamble in the future books at a huge price. If he can be competitive and show signs of the horse who won the Holy Bull, then it could set him up for a good effort on Derby Day. Sure, it's a guess, but so are most of these horses.

20--Champali/Greg Foley; Glitterman-Radioactivity, by Dixieland Band
Don't see him as a true mile and a quarter horse, but he has a big shot to win the Lane's End if Lion Tamer isn't up to the 1 1/8 miles at this time. Can't fault his consistency and toughness, having won six of his seven starts, and he did win the Iroquois at Churchill Downs. Has good tactical speed and versatile enough to win at five different distances already, from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.

21--Great Notion/ Darrin Miller; Elusive Quality-Evening Primrose, by Dayjur
Can't see a son of Elusive Quality out of a Dayjur mare possibly winning the Derby, but he sure looked strong in the Southwest Stakes at a mile. If he continues to be allowed to wing it out on the lead by himself, he could at least put himself in the Derby picture for the time being.

22--Inamorato/Saeed bin Suroor; Tale of the Cat-Be My Sweetheart, by No Robbery
It looks like Godolphin will try to buck history again if this colt should win the UAE Derby. Regardless of how impressively he wins he still will go into the Kentucky Derby off only three career starts. He shouldn't be able to win doing that, but the Derby picture has been changing so dramatically over the past several years, pretty soon it's inevitable that we'll have to throw the book away. It just doesn't look like that time has come quite yet. But we will be curious to see how an undefeated Godolphin horse can perform in the Derby off three starts -- for future reference, at least.

23--Spite the Devil/Allen Jerkens; Devil His Due-Samantha D, by Cryptoclearance
We've got to put someone from the Gotham on here, and he did close well enough over the inner track to suggest that he's moving in the right direction. He closed fast to be second behind Region of Merit in his previous start and ran Funny Cide to a neck finish in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow for New York-breds last year. We can certainly see him picking up a piece of it in the Wood Memorial. And it is important to note that he is inbred to the great stamina influence Herbager.

24--Man Among Men/Gary Mandella; Gentlemen-La Favorita, by Nikos
A lot of questions now after his dull effort in the San Felipe, in which he bled a 1 1/2 to a 2 on a scale of 5, and that's through Lasix. Mandella will watch him closely and have his lungs X-rayed. If he's convinced he has rebounded sufficiently to be trained up to the Santa Anita Derby, then he'll consider going on with him. We already know he's a talented colt on dirt and grass, having beaten Empire Maker and Peace Rules in stakes. It's just a question of how he recovers from this untimely setback.

25--Alysweep/Patrick Reynolds; End Sweep-Chronicler, by Alysheba
Ran a powerful race on the front end in the Gotham Stakes in first two-turn race. Set a good pace and wasn't stopping in the stretch. Reynolds picked up a bargain when he claimed him for $75,000. Hard to tell how far he can carry his speed, but he does have enough stamina in his pedigree to suggest he can be effective going farther.