Unbeaten Old Fashioned, at the top of many early prognostications for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), makes his 2009 debut in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park Feb. 16.
A special Monday race card at Oaklawn Jan. 19 features the second running of the Smarty Jones Stakes. The one-mile race will feature a talented field of 3-year olds that could stamp their ticket for a chance at the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), and maybe a shot at the Triple Crown.
With the first Derby Dozen list scheduled for early February, this is a good time to make up a Top 10 list of horses who haven't accomplished enough just yet to make the official list, but who have a good chance of making it in the near future.
Indygo Mountain, who broke his maiden impressively Nov. 19 at Churchill Downs but had to be scratched from his next start because of a minor injury, was installed as the 3-1 morning-line choice in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Jan. 10.
Two rocket ships will be launched at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, and don't be surprised if a few of the passengers wind up landing in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
It looks as though the upcoming crop of Derby contenders will be the most stamina-laden in years, with powerful pedigrees, especially on the female side, in abundance.
Yes, it is early to start thinking about Kentucky Derby future bets, but this is the time of year when you can find the megabombs if you're willing to put your money on a wing and a prayer.
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