13 -- Invisible Ink
15-1. We really liked this colt's race in the Florida Derby, but he's got his work cut out for him in the Blue Grass Stakes. We like the fact that he didn't get intimidated while stuck in heavy traffic throughout most of the Florida Derby, and when he finally got clear in the stretch, he accelerated beautifully to finish third. So, he obviously has tactical speed, is professional, and can turn it on when he has to. Still don't know how brilliant he is, or if he has the speed to keep up with the top colts. Would have liked a little better price.
14 -- Millennium Wind,
15-1. He is becoming a bit of a dilemma, and at 15-1, you'll have to decide whether it bothers you that Chris McCarron, who gave up Dollar Bill to stick with this colt, has now abandoned him to ride Bienamado in the San Juan Capistrano. And then there is that nasty fungal infection he's been battling, and the fact that he'll be making his second cross-country trip in five weeks. He did work a fast 7 furlongs in 1:24 3/5, and he does have ability. But this one is your call.
15 -- Monarchos,
6-1. OK, so what to make of this prediction of doom by the speed sheets gurus? It didn't take speed figures to realize that he peaked very quickly and very early in the Florida Derby. We still insist that was as impressive a performance as we've seen by a young 3-year-old. And we immediately asked, what does he do for an encore? John Ward has not asked him for any speed in the morning, perhaps realizing he needs to save as much in the tank as possible. He can regress off the Florida Derby and still win the Wood, as Unbridled's Song did in 1996. Then it's just a matter of how he bounces out of that race, and if he's resilient enough to maintain his form three weeks later. It may be a lot to ask of most horses, but he may not be like most horses. We'll get a better idea after we see how he handles brilliant, fresh horses like Congaree and Richly Blended in the Wood.
16 -- Ommadon,
30-1. Now that he's gotten in a prep for the Wood Memorial, and showed he can settle nicely off the pace, we feel he is a legitimate threat, especially at 30-1. With a solid 2-year-old campaign behind him, this big, long-striding colt shouldn't need more than two races to get him ready for the Derby. He has the pedigree and the foundation, and we feel he will be a live horse on the first Saturday in May if he can hold his own against Monarchos, Richly Blended, and Congaree.
17 -- Outofthebox,
30-1. Bailey said "sayonara" after three starts to look for greener pastures. And Nakatani dumped him before he even rode him. You'll know pretty much all there is to know about him after Flamingo, so sit tight. Barring bad luck, he should win this race after seconds behind Express Tour, Songandaprayer, and Monarchos in his last three stakes appearances. He's certainly a consistent closer, but we're not quite sure just how much punch he has, and if 1 1/4 miles will be up his alley.
18 -- Palmeiro,
50-1. We'll take 50-1 in a flash, based on pedigree and the amount of room for improvement. Gave Millennium Wind all he could handle coming off a maiden score, and had no shot to beat Crafty C.T. in the San Rafael, dropping back in distance. He was too rank in that race, and fought Desormeaux early, which we don't like to see. But he's had some time off and has been impressive in his long-distance works. The key in the Santa Anita Derby is whether he can relax off the pace and make one run. That will tell us if he's matured to the point where he's ready to utilize his stamina and tackle a race like the Kentucky Derby.
19 -- Point Given,
4-1. Well-deserved favorite, and he's continued his excellent Thoro-Graph pattern, despite a long layoff between ages two and three. Finished off the year with Thoro-Graph numbers of 7, 5 1/2, and a 3 1/2, then cranked out a huge 2 1/2 in the San Felipe. If he regresses slightly off that in the Santa Anita Derby, which is very possible, he still should win and then be in line to return to that number, or close to it, on the first Saturday in May. This is a huge, powerful colt who looks as if he's out there loping along. The key is how he holds up over the next month. He did have an erratic work schedule this winter. Although he has a lot going for him, we still wouldn't take 4-1 on him right now. Even if he wins the Santa Anita Derby, and others progress as well, he won't be much lower than that on Derby Day.
20 -- Proud Man,
50-1. You'll find out if he handles the dirt as well as the turf in the Flamingo Stakes. His last race was particularly impressive, as he displayed a quick turn of foot in the stretch. But he's had his chances on the dirt already, so it's just a matter of whether his exploits on the grass have made him a different horse. We expect him to run a big race, but the key is whether it's big enough to knock off Outofthebox.
21 -- Songandaprayer,
50-1. Not bad odds for a Fountain of Youth winner whom you know is a brilliant, talented colt. We believe he just didn't care for the loose surface in the Florida Derby, and with a tighter surface at Keeneland, and the shorter stretch, we wouldn't be surprised to see him run big in the Blue Grass. The 1 1/4 miles is still a question mark, but there is enough in his pedigree to suggest he could go that far under the right conditions. But even winning the Blue Grass on the front end won't help him in the Derby. He must show he can adapt and rate off a fast pace if he needs to.
22 -- Startac,
50-1. We've liked this colt for a long time, and we'd definitely play him at 50-1, or even 30-1 on the assumption that he'll be closing enough ground in the Santa Anita Derby to re-establish himself as a top Derby contender. He ran an excellent Thoro-Graph 4 1/2 in the Turf Paradise Derby, then regressed to a 6 1/2 in the El Camino Real Derby. But we believe that was more of a dislike for the surface than anything else. He was climbing badly right from the start, and just had a terrible time of it. The small field in the Santa Anita Derby won't help him, but this isn't about winning as much as running a strong race. Very enticing proposition.
23 -- Street Cry,
15-1. Ah, last but not least, our Godolphin goodie, whom we've defended staunchly for his apparent acts of pacifism under fire. We still firmly believe this is a colt to be reckoned with on Derby Day, and we'd jump on him at 15-1. We don't believe he gave it up in the UAE Derby. He had a rough trip, getting bounced around; had to overcome a speed-biased track; split horses at the head of the stretch; and made a long, sustained run to get the lead. The final time was very fast, compared to the Dubai World Cup, and he finished 6 lengths ahead of the "older" Lido Palace, a multi-classic winner in Chile. His speed sheets patterns confirm his progress. He closed out last year with a pair of Thoro-Graph 5's, then ran another 5 in the UAE Two Thousand Guineas and a 3 in the UAE Derby. That should set him up for a big effort in the big one. We normally don't like 6-week layoffs going into the Derby, but he can use the time after that hard a race. And he should flourish in Kentucky, coming from the desert heat.
24 -- Mutuel Field,
10-1. Regardless of how many horses you get, the field still is pretty weak. You could wind up with a pair of Lukas horses if Scorpion and Turnberry Isle run well enough in their respective preps, which is some enticement. And you could have the Arkansas Derby winner if Jamaican Rum, Crafty Shaw, True Concern or Strike it Smart emerges victorious. You also have a shot at having the Illinois Derby winner if Distilled continues to improve. A good race by Thunder Blitz or Talk is Money in the Flamingo will help as well. And you'll have Zito's dark horse It's So Simple, who could go in either the Wood Memorial or Lexington Stakes.