Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

I posted my initial Derby Top 10 back in early December but now in the new year I'll be updating the Top 10 every week until the Kentucky Derby itself. I have had the eventual Derby winner in my first January Top 10 for the past two years. Hopefully he (or she) is mentioned here for the third year in a row. The Top 10 will be listed on the sidebar as well. The number in brackets is the horses ranking from the previous Top 10 list.

Derby Top 10 - January 8th

1. War Pass (1)
2. Colonel John (2)
3. Tale of Ekati (3)
4. Pyro (4)
5. Court Vision (5)
6. Into Mischief (new)
7. Kodiak Kowboy (7)
8. Country Star (new)
9. Riley Tucker (10)
10. Monba (new)

War Pass remains my top Derby horse and will likely stay there unless I see something fantastic from another contender. He is undefeated and despite his penchant for early speed I think he's live and dangerous for the Derby. Colonel John had his chance to impress and perhaps topple War Pass but he didn't quite take that chance. He did not run poorly in the Hollywood Futurity but he didn't shoot the lights out either and he is vulnerable in the #2 spot. Tale of Ekati, Pyro and Court Vision are also unchanged. None of them did anything of note recently but the class and talent they showed as 2yo's makes them benchmarks for the division and they'll likely remain highly ranked until they give me a reason to drop them. Into Mischief was pretty impressive when taking the Hollywood Futurity over Colonel John and Massive Drama. I love the fact that he's got speed going two turns but he's able to throttle back the speed a bit. This will see him get first run on most of his opponents on the Triple Crown trail. I also love the fact that he's trained by Mandella. There are few trainers that I have more faith in. Although he is not typically known as a Derby trainer I think he can prepare and campaign a horse as well as anyone in the nation. Kodiak Kowboy is questionable to stay 10f but he hangs around and he's got some class. I think he will be very tough all through the TC trail. Country Star made a huge splash with her win in the Hollywood Starlet. I was not quite sure how to rank her. Visually her Hollywood Starlet was better than Into Mischief's Futurity but I've ranked her lower to compensate for the real chance that she may not contest the Derby. Frankel has said the Oaks is her target so even putting her on this list at all means banking on him changing his mind. Riley Tucker is an oddball pick but he showed a lot of ability as a 2yo. His connections did not have him all straightened out so we didn't see his best before he got injured. He is back on the work tab now for Mott and I expect him to do quite well. Most people are tabbing Cowboy Cal as Pletcher's best 3yo right now but I think it's Monba, at least in terms of the main track. Cowboy Cal has been very impressive on the grass not actually as impressive as Barbaro was at that stage. He's good as a turf horse but he isn't exactly the best Turf juvenile we've seen in a decade. I prefer Monba who made a big late run in the Futurity and galloped out very strongly as well. Obviously he'll need to start getting into the race sooner but he's still green and I think he's got a decent future.

Dropped: Cave's Valley (6) - His performance in the Delta Jackpot was not horrendous and I would be open to including him in the Top 10 again if he rebounds well in his next race but I suspect that he will not be pointed to the Derby. Most likely he'll have a nice career contesting listed stakes at Laurel and Delaware.
Majestic Warrior (8) - Still no workouts, I can't keep him on the Top 10 when he's still injured. Derby winners pretty much have to be working out at this stage.
Wise Answer (9) - Got a great form reference from Smooth Air but ran flatly in a turf race. I don't hold the Turf race against him that much so I left him on the radar. But my main question is, why was he in the Turf race to being with? It may signal that his connections don't really think he is good enough to leave Calder and win, or that they simply don't know how to campaign a Derby horse. In any event he's got to run well on the main track to get back in my good graces.

On the radar: Salute The Sarge, Slew's Tiznow, Wicked Style, Atoned, Etched, Fidelio, Alaazo, J Be K, Wise Answer (9), Turf War, Z Humor, Massive Drama, Cowboy Cal

1 comment:

peeptoad said...

Interesting list...I'm going to wait a month or so before putting my first list of the year together. :)