Haskin's Derby Watch--Week 9 (Cont.)

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

May be Zito's last chance to make the Derby, and his back-to-back victories suggest he's an improving colt who just may be sitting on a breakout race. If he should run big in the Spiral Stakes you know he's going to keep improving. Remember, Zito won the Derby with his sire.

20 -- Easy Grades/Ted West; Honor Grades-Itsoeasy, by Easy Goer

With Siphonic running poorly in the San Felipe, Medaglia d'Oro heading East, and questions surrounding Came Home, he should have a lot to say about the outcome of the Santa Anita Derby. He doesn't have to improve all that much from the San Rafael to be a major factor.

21 -- Yougottawanna/Jerry Hollendorfer; Candi's Gold-Chapel's Sister, by Midway Circle

He's knocked off three Baffert horses in stakes, and now he has to show he's a legitimate contender. Like with Easy Grades, he should be a factor in the Santa Anita. That is, if his Northern Cal and state-bred races prove to be formful. He does have a good kick around the turn and tactical speed, and he outran a tough horse in Danthebluegrassman.

22 -- Azillion/Bob Hess; Alzao-Olivia, by Ela-Mana-Mou

If there is a real bomb still out there, he could be the one. We think he's a natural distance who just has to find his niche. He's run with some pretty talented 3-year-olds in allowance company and now it's time to step up. He's been sitting close to the pace, but he's been running spotty and needs to show a little more turn of foot. He gets Mike Smith for the Spiral and definitely is one to watch.

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

Was closing strongly in the Tampa Bay Derby and has good 2-year-old form in Canada. Pedigree suggests he'll continue to get stronger as the distances increase. But he still has to step up and show he can compete with better horses.

24 -- Essence of Dubai/Saeed bin Suroor; Pulpit-Epitome, by Summing

He needs to run an impressive race in the UAE Derby, then he can head to Churchill and look to return to his Norfolk form. He beat a hard-knocking miler in the UAE 2,000 Guineas, but hasn't beaten a top-class horse yet. Basically, if he's a legitimate Derby horse, he shouldn't lose the UAE Derby.

25 -- Booklet/John Ward; Notebook-Crafty Bobbie, by Bob's Dusty

Was eliminated by rabbit tactics and actually did quite well to finish fourth. Many horses would have simply collapsed and been beaten off after being pressed through such suicidal fractions. Don't be surprised to see him bounce back with a big effort in the Blue Grass Stakes.

26 -- Windward Passage/Steve Asmussen; Captain Bodgit-Storm Runner, by Miswaki

He could be a sleeper if he continues to show improvement. Southwest Stakes was pretty much a mess, and we really want to see what he does in the Rebel on a fast track, with a good pace in front of him.

27 -- Changeintheweather/Dave Bell; Gone West-Meteor Colony, by Pleasant Colony

Bell played it smart keeping him in allowance company, which at least gives him some additional time on the Derby trail. But now he has to really pick up his game and show he belongs with the top horses. We still think he's a horse with a bright future.

28 -- Charioteer/Todd Pletcher; Silver Deputy-New Wave, by Dynaformer

Took all the worst of it on the front end in first two-turn race, and still finished fourth, beaten only 4 1/2 lengths by Repent in Louisiana Derby. He'll run next in Arkansas Derby, a race his trainer has won last two years, and he should be much tougher with this last race under his belt. Really would like to see what he can do rating off the pace.

29 -- High Star/Nick Zito; Private Terms-Polember, by Polish Navy

You hate to see setbacks at this stage of the game, and now he'll have to bounce back from a severe bleeding episode. Shipping to cooler climate will help, but we really didn't learn anything about him. If he does rebound it'll have to be against the leading Derby contenders.

30 -- Peekskill/Tony Reinstedler; Meadowlake-Premier Mombo, by Premiership

We don't think he's as good as his stablemate Stephentown, but he's at least stakes placed in grade I company, so there's something to build on. We don't know when or where Stephentown will show up. Although this colt was a well-beaten third, he still beat the others pretty soundly.

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: ETHAN MAN looked good winning the Swale Stakes over LISTEN HERE, but it's really rushing to try to make the Derby with him, especially being he hasn't been two turns yet and he's not bred to go a distance. WAR EMBLEM, who did not fare well in recent Fair Grounds stakes, won a prep for the Illinois Derby by 10 3/4 lengths. WILD HORSES, who broke his maiden at Fair Grounds by 10 lengths, will make his stakes debut in Gulfstream's new $250,000 Aventura Stakes on April 6. A big race there will send him to Churchill; same owners as Charioteer. NOKOMA keeps jumping up and down the list, and we're basically at a loss what to make of him. We're still keeping an eye on MAGIC WEISNER, who could run in the Private Terms.