Haskin's Kentucky Derby Top Contenders--March 12 Update

Ranked in preference order, with horse/ trainer/breeding

Click on horse's name to access Contender Page

1 -- Monarchos/John Ward/Maria's Mon-Regal Band, by Dixieland Band

Florida Derby was as impressive a 3-year-old prep as we've ever seen. It wasn't so much the awesome acceleration as much as sustaining it for 5 furlongs while racing 8-wide. Incredible effort for a young horse, and he galloped out strong, like he was ready to do it again.

2-A P Valentine/ Nick Zito/A.P. Indy-Twenty Eight Carat, by Alydar

Back breezing, going 5 furlongs in 1:01 3/5 at Hialeah. Flamingo-Lexington route means 2 weeks, then 2 weeks to Derby. Timing is against him, but he does have untapped ability going for him.

3-Point Given/Bob Baffert/Thunder Gulch-Turko's Turn, by Turkoman

His last work in company with Silvertongue Fox was extremely impressive, especially the way he dominated his workmate physically. He's so big and strong, and with his agility, he's quite a presence out there. He should come back like gangbusters in the San Felipe.

4 -- Street Cry/Saeed bin Suroor/Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy

Other than Monarchos, the 3-year-old picture here still is very wide-open. Contrary to consensus opinion, the Godolphin horses are better off running right off the plane, as they thrive on the quick change from desert heat to cooler climate. Hit and run tactics seem the right way to go.

5--Dollar Bill/Dallas Stewart/Peaks and Valleys-Saratoga Game, by Saratoga Six

More impressed with him now than before the race. Nothing can convince us he wouldn't have won had he not clipped heels, almost falling. Loved the way he recovered quickly and came running again on his own. Came out of the race without a scratch, and now heads for Blue Grass Stakes.

6--Hero's Tribute/John Ward/Sea Hero -- Eastern Dawn, by Damascus

Also very impressive in defeat. Was stuck in behind horses and kept getting pinned down on the inside. Behind a wall of horses on turn and through most of the stretch. Finally turned it on after getting clear. Remember, this was his first 2-turn race. Look for big improvement in Blue Grass with addition of blinkers. He'll get better as the distances increase.

7 -- Invisible Ink/Todd Pletcher/Thunder Gulch-Conquistress, by Conquistador Cielo...

While on the subject, this colt was surrounded by horses through most of the Florida Derby and never had an inch of daylight, while tracking the leaders. May have gotten clipped across the face with another jock's whip, or at least was intimidated by it. Once he was yanked to the outside, he took off like a good horse, and this was his stakes debut.

8 -- Outofthebox/Bernie Flint/Montbrook-Cricket Box, by Notebook

Proving to be a good, hard-knocking horse, but just needs a bit more kick. Raced fairly wide around the turns in Florida Derby and ran a winning race, but was up against a monster on this day.

9 -- Millennium Wind/Dave Hofmans/Cryptoclearance-Bali Babe, by Drone

Ran an excellent race coming off a two-month layoff, putting pressure on the leaders around the turn, then hanging tough in the stretch. This was only his fourth career start and first outside California. Tough next time, but wish we knew more about those lesions on his feet.

10 -- Palmeiro/John Sadler/Pleasant Tap-Fortune Pending, by Fortunate Prospect

We think this colt is a great price at 35-1 in the second Future Wager. He had no shot against Crafty C.T. over speed-favoring track and dropping back from 1 1/16 miles. Will get better the farther they go.

Continued. . . .