13--Ministers Wild Cat/Neil Drysdale; Deputy Minister-Hollywood Wildcat, by Kris S.
Showed more professionalism in the stretch this time after losing ground on both turns. He still tried to lug in a couple of times and needs to mature his way out of that a little more. He has one more race to work on it. But he is heading in the right direction.14--Badge of Silver/Ronny Werner; Silver Deputy-Silveroo, by Silver HawkThis really should not have come as a shock to anyone. When you're taking a crash course to the Derby and you put in performances like this horse has, there is always the danger of hitting a wall somewhere along the way. Hearing that he displaced his palate should be no surprise, considering how easily he was running before stopping. He now has a month to take a deep breath and regroup for the Illinois Derby. Then, if he wants to blow the doors off his opposition again, he can do it – a la War Emblem -- and not be afraid of peaking too soon. But the key is how he bounces back from all this. He was "a tired puppy" afterward, and with the added mini-trauma of a myectomy, he'll have to show some resilience to get back on a good steady work schedule.15--Senor Swinger /Mickey Goldfine; El Prado-Smooth Swinger, by Kris S. We really like everything about this colt, but even if he wins the Florida Derby he'll still have only four starts prior to the Kentucky Derby. One of these years, someone is going to win off four starts, especially in these conservative times. What he has going for him is the fact that all four of his races will have been around two turns. Also, he's a big, strong, colt with a magnificent stride. He really is one of the more impressive-looking 3-year-olds we've seen in a long time. He'll use the Illinois Derby as his final prep. Goldfine did say he's cross-entering him in the Tampa Bay Derby. If the track is bad at Gulfstream Saturday, he may ship up to Tampa for Sunday's race.16--Ten Most Wanted/Wally Dollase; Deputy Commander-Wanted Again, by Criminal TypeShowed big improvement in El Camino Real Derby off his fourth-place finish in the Sham, tracking the pace from the inside and hanging tough in the stretch. He's a big, long-striding colt and there's no reason to think he won't continue to improve. He's slated for the Illinois Derby next, and could be a real value play in the Derby future books. He's got the pedigree and is on track to peak on Derby Day. Unfortunately, he's in the mutuel field for the Future Wager.17--Supah Blitz/Emanuel Tortora; Mecke-Boots 'n Jackie, by Major MoranTough, hard-knocking colt, who could pick up a piece of the pot in the Florida Derby. In fact, he's the type of horse who can pick up a piece of the pot just about every time he runs. And he does have a victory over Trust N Luck to his credit. One of those money-making machines you love to have in your barn.18--Ten Cents a Shine/D. Wayne Lukas; Devil His Due-Aunt Mottz, by Honey JayLukas said he's adapted beautifully to his new home and has put on 30 pounds. Turned in a big work, blazing 5 furlongs in :59 2/5. First, thought he'd train up to the Santa Anita Derby, but now will run in the San Felipe. Certainly deserves another chance after suffering from bronchial infection after Fountain of Youth.19--Region of Merit/Chris Clement; Touch Gold-Innocently Astray, by Gone WestHe's shown tremendous potential and has actually won three races in a row, which nowadays is a rare accomplishment. We won't know much more about his class after the Tampa Bay Derby, but if he wins, he'll at least he'll bring a four-race winning streak into his big Derby prep, whether it be the Wood or Blue Grass.20--Hold That Tiger/Aidan O'Brien; Storm Cat-Beware of the Cat, by CaveatStill not giving up hope of him returning on the first Saturday in May. If this isn't the right year to try the Kentucky Derby with a horse like this, we don't know when the right year is. Perhaps a lot will depend on how the other Tabor horses -- Lion Tamer, Aristocat, and Brancusi -- fare in their next starts.KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: Some live longshots to watch this weekend are BRANCUSI and BUCKLAND MANOR in the San Felipe. And SIBERLAND will take some catching after his 6-furlong work in 1:11. If FORMAL ATTIRE can hold his own in the Florida Derby, he will bear watching. He's already had two 1 1/8-mile races, and while his races have been slow, he does have a lot of scope for improvement. Pletcher looking for big improvement from INDY DANCER. Pletcher's ARISTOCAT could give Region of Merit a battle in the Tampa Bay Derby. Godolphin's INAMORATO romped in UAE Derby prep, going wire-to-wire, but will have only three career starts before the Kentucky Derby. For down the road, keep an eye on DYNEVER, who was brilliant breaking his maiden at Gulfstream in his second career start. With his pedigree, anyone taking future bets on the Belmont Stakes? COLITA tries to rebound off poor effort in the slop in the Sam F. Davis when he takes on a big field in the Gotham Stakes. Also, watch out for CHEROKEE'S BOY and GREY COMET in that one. Other top 3-year-olds who must be mentioned are GREAT NOTION, CHAMPALI, and let's not forget about OFFLEE WILD if he can bounce back from a nasty virus.