Steve Haskin's Derby Watch-Week 6 (2/26)

1 -- Repent/Kenny McPeek; Louis Quatorze-Baby Grace, by Cipayo

All D'Amico did was win on the colt, but switch to Bailey really puts the whole package together. Last non-big-name rider to win Derby was Ron Franklin on Spectacular Bid 23 years ago. With Dubai plans scrapped, it's on to either the Louisiana Derby or Spiral Stakes two weeks later.

2 -- Siphonic/David Hofmans; Siphon-Cherokee Crossing, by Cherokee Colony

He put many of the rumors about his physical condition to rest for the time being by working a sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00 1/5, with Hofmans catching his final quarter in :23 3/5 and final eighth in :11 3/5. But what to make of Bailey jumping aboard Repent?

3 -- Harlan's Holiday/Kenny McPeek; Harlan-Christmas in Aiken, by Affirmed

Also lost D'Amico, picking up Edgar Prado. He's going to be tough to beat in the Florida Derby, especially if someone is able to keep Booklet busy on the lead. Important race, in that he can't keep making these seconds to Booklet a pattern.

4 -- Nokoma/Todd Pletcher; Pulpit-Eliza Blue, by Icecapade

Gulfstream allowance victory puts him right back on track for Florida Derby. Like the way he dug in over a drying-out track. Showed good acceleration on the inside, then pinned back his ears, thrust out his neck and kept driving to the wire.

5 -- Sunday Break/Neil Drysdale; Forty Niner-Catequill, by Storm Cat

Didn't disappoint all those who had hopped on his bandwagon after his maiden victory. He stalked a classy colt in Raven Power, then put him away in a very professional performance. Fusaichi Pegasus revisited? Appears to have the all the tools to be any kind. Drysdale said he's improving all the time, and he'll consider his options after returning from the 2-year-old sale in Florida.

6 -- D' Coach/Shug McGaughey; Dehere-Catatonic, by Big Spruce

We admit his placing is high, considering his record and the races he's run in. Some feel he's a plodder who will always come up short against a good horse. But he's shown a powerful turn of foot on the far turn, and McGaughey's been working him short. Can't afford to display the same antics he did in Whirlaway, but we'll give him another chance outside Big A inner track to prove he ranks among the leaders.

7 -- Saarland/Shug McGaughey; Unbridled-Versailles Treaty, by Danzig

McGaughey has decided to scrap Friday allowance at Aqueduct and train up to Gotham. You never like to see plans get disrupted, and this colt has been ready to run for quite a while. Somehow, three allowance races failed to fill and now he must go into Derby off only two starts. Last horse to accomplish that was Sunny Halo 19 years ago.

8 -- Johannesburg/Aidan O'Brien; Hennessy -- Myth, by Ogygian

Had no choice but to drop him several notches after owner's announcement he'll have only one 7-furlong race before Derby. Good move for the 2,000 Guineas; horrible move for the Kentucky Derby.

9 -- Saratoga Blues/Tony Dutrow; Twining-Time for a Wedding, by Manila

Worked a half in :48 at Laurel for Gotham Stakes. No one is hotter than Dutrow right now, as he's become a one-man wrecking crew in his New York forays. We really won't know much more about this colt until the Wood Memorial.

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

Really looking forward to seeing how he performs against tougher company in Florida Derby. Zito just looking for enough so that he can head to Keeneland with a contender. That's where his horses blossom.

11 -- Blue Burner/Bill Mott; French Deputy-Haiati, by Alydar

If Bill Mott makes it to the Derby with a George Steinbrenner colt, who has a legitimate shot, it would add quite a bit to the storyline, giving the cast a high-profile presence. And this colt should only get better.

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

As much as we respect this tenacious colt, he just has too much going against him to be a serious Derby horse. He's just a little guy and he has a questionable Derby pedigree, but mostly it's the running style. Front-running Derby winners need a stout pedigree, and most recent ones have been unchallenged early.

13 -- Came Home/Paco Gonzalez; Gone West-Nice Assay, by Clever Trick

Really not much to say about him until we see him run in the San Rafael. Even then, we won't know much more about him as a Derby horse. It's basically a raw talent vs. pedigree battle with him.

14 -- Danthebluegrassman/Bob Baffert; Pioneering-Stay With Bruce, by Grey Dawn II

Baffert down to him, Puerto Banus, and Mountain Rage. He's certainly the most proven of the three, and as long as the Northern California form holds up, you have to consider him legit. Big question here is his class over a distance of ground.

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

Considering his pedigree, and the fact he's put in two solid efforts at a mile and 1 1/16 miles, we can only believe he'll continue to improve as the distances stretch out. Broodmare sire is a major stamina influence. Would prefer to see him a bit farther off the pace.

16 -- Bob's Image/ Dallas Stewart; Halo's Image-Gray Flannel, by Darn That Alarm

Like everything about him except his running style. He's obviously very talented, and can fight off challenges and still kick on. But, as with Booklet, it's extremely tough winning the Derby on the front end. Any signs of him being able to take back off the pace and he moves way up.

17 -- Bunk N Ted/Kenneth Wirth; Belong to Me-Littlemountaingirl, by Synastry

Why not? Tampa Bay or no Tampa Bay, he is undefeated, has already won at Churchill Downs, and his victory in the Sam Davis was one of the most impressive we've seen all year. And we're looking for fresh, exciting faces. For a young colt to overcome all the trouble he did and still blow his field away with such a scintillating move is very encouraging for the future. And he did beat a major stakes winner in Canada. We'll have to see how far he wants to go, but there is plenty of stamina throughout his pedigree.

18 -- USS Tinosa/Jerry Hollendorfer; Foxhound-Angel Puss, by Wolf Power

Having doubts about the form of the Sham Stakes after Hot Contest's lackluster performance in last week's allowance race. He's still a tough, hard-knocking horse who always runs his race.

19 -- Pelirrojo/John Sadler; Flying Continental-La Fresa, by Cozzene

The form of his allowance victory held up fairly well, with solid showings by Raven Power and Azillion. We were impressed the way he rallied between horses in that race, but just want to see him put good back-to-back efforts together.

Contenders 20-30, Knocking on the Door