2-Year-Olds With Derby Promise--Part II

Johannesburg – We're all going to just have to sit back and wait. Obviously an exceptional colt and likely 2-year-old champ. There is some question about the 1 1/4 miles, but with his natural ability and remarkable professionalism for a young horse, we think he can handle it if he's brought up to the race properly. And that is a huge "if."

King's Consul – Has a whopping $5.3 million price tag hanging over him -- the second-highest priced yearling sold at the Keeneland September sale. Broke his maiden first time out at Belmont and he has an all-star pedigree that will carry him any distance. But he'll need to do a lot to be ready for the Derby.

Listen Here – Nashua winner disappointed in the Remsen, making a good move on the far turn, only to flatten out. Bill Mott will keep the Gulch colt at shorter distances for now.

Mayakovsky – Brilliant colt, set track record in career debut at Saratoga, then ran huge second to Came Home in Hopeful before getting hurt. With injury and a number of speed influences in his pedigree, his Derby status is up in the air right now.

Maybry's Boy – Hard to figure out what to make of this colt. Didn't look like anything special in his first three starts, but jumped up to run a monster race at Aqueduct, coming from 11th to win by 6 lengths, zipping the seven furlongs in 1:22 3/5. Either he woke up with a vengeance or he beat a very weak field. Shug McGaughey colt, a $220,000 yearling buy at Keeneland September, is by Broad Brush out of an Alydar mare, so there's a lot to recommend him.

Monthir – Liked this son of Gulch going into the Remsen, but he tired after being in perfect position turning for home. He's still a bit of a green colt, so he probably deserves another chance.

Nokoma – Another Pletcher colt, and one we like a lot. Ran a terrific race in the Remsen. Coming off a maiden victory in his second start, he was carried wide on the first turn, then rocketed between horses in the stretch to take the lead, only to get nipped at the wire by the seasoned stakes horse Saarland. A son of Pulpit out of an Icecapade mare, he, like Johannesburg, is owned by Michael Tabor. This definitely is one to watch.

Officer – We've never claimed this is a Kentucky Derby horse, but he's still done things this year that stamp him as something exceptional. Son of Bertrando has unlimited ability, and don't underestimate that huge move he made in the Cal Cup Juvenile, coming a week after the Breeders' Cup and having traveled 12,000 miles in less than a month. Pedigree is a big question mark, but he's going to win many more big races along the way.

Pelirrojo – He was brilliant in his career debut, coming from far back to blow his field away going six furlongs. Because he broke awkwardly, we still don't know what his running style is or what he beat. Unusual pedigree, with a lot of California influences – Flying Continental, Beau's Eagle, Golden Eagle II, and Silky Sullivan. Love his inbreeding to Prince John. Interested to see what he does next time out.

Popular – As of now, this looks to be Baffert's main Derby hope, and from what we've seen in his last two starts, he's going to develop into a major force in the 3-year-old division. Has a big shot to win the Hollywood Futurity. He no doubt is a gusty colt who likes to slug it out, and he certainly has one of the top two or three Derby pedigrees we've seen so far. By Saint Ballado out of a Gone West mare. His dam Qena is from the family of English Oaks and Irish Derby winner Balanchine and Alabama winner It's in the Air.

Publication – Main Northern California representative as of now. Went off at 103-1 in Breeders' Cup Juvenile despite coming off win in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and ran a big race, closing fast to finish fourth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Sire Petionville still unknown quantity, but the pedigree is there on both sides.

Repent – Probably right at the top of many Derby lists after his victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club, in which he had to overcome a ton of trouble throughout the race. This, following his fast-closing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and victory in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, stamps him as the most accomplished of the American-based 2-year-olds. He has shown he can overcome adversity, can handle the slop, and likes Churchill Downs.

Request For Parole – Hard-knocking closer, the son of Judge T C has posted back-to-back runner-up performances in the Iroquois and Kentucky Jockey Club. Question is whether he's good enough to beat the top horses. Should be one of those money makers who keep picking up checks.

River Gambler– Another Lukas colt, broke his maiden second time out at Aqueduct, running three-fifths slower than Charioteer. Full brother to champion Boston Harbor. Mile and a quarter is the big question.

Robe – This Claiborne Farm-owned son of Pulpit looks like an exciting prospect. Broke his maiden second time out by 3 1/2 lengths going 1 1/16 miles. Still has a lot to prove, and trainer Frankie Brothers is never one to get high on a young horse fresh out of a maiden race. But what a way for Claiborne to go out should he turn into a Derby contender.

Saarland – First it was Neil Drysdale, then John Ward. If the Derby trend is now turning to veteran conservative trainers, then this could very well be McGaughey's year. If Saarland keeps maturing and getting his act together, there's no telling how good he can become. He still has a lot to learn, but his Remsen obviously showed he has all the tools. And he also showed how a big, wild-running colt can intimidate another horse, which is what he did to Silent Fred. By Unbridled out of Versailles Treaty – need we say more?

Seeking Greatness – Although his trainer Alan Goldberg still wants to see more, we were extremely impressed with this colt's maiden score at Aqueduct, in which he showed a brilliant turn of foot to win in a sharp 1:03 flat for 5 1/2 furlongs. It wasn't the time, but the way he took off at the five-sixteenths pole that impressed us. By Seeking the Gold out of the dam of world-record holder for a mile Elusive Quality, his second and third dams are major stakes winners Ivory Wand (Test Stakes) and Natashka (Alabama Stakes). This is the family of 2-year-old champ Anees.

Silent Fred – He would have been right there at the finish of the Remsen if he didn't get freaked out by Saarland rushing up alongside him like a runaway freight train, while literally jumping over on to his right lead. Silent Fred ducked sharply to the inside and completely lost his action, but still managed to finish third. By Louis Quatorze, this Zito-trained colt has to overcome a lofty 7.00 dosage index, but this is not that speed-oriented a pedigree and he was coming on strong at 1 1/8 miles.

Siphonic – If you don't have Repent on top of your list, it is likely you have Siphonic. The son of Siphon has the potential to be a very special horse, judging by his spectacular victory in the Breeders' Futurity in only his second career start and his solid third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which he put Officer and Came Home away before getting caught by Johannesburg and Repent. He's in excellent hands with Dave Hofmans, and he has a pedigree that shouts mile and a quarter. You really can't ask for much more at this stage.

Spinning Tales – If Bill Mott does have a Derby hopeful, it could be this son of Spinning World who scored a 5 1/2-length maiden victory at Aqueduct in 1:36 3/5 for a mile. He did slow up at the end after setting fractions of :45 2/5 and 1:09 4/5.


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