Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

Derby Top 10 - January 15th

1. War Pass (1)
2. Colonel John (2)
3. Tale Of Ekati (3)
4. Pyro (4)
5. Court Vision (5)
6. Into Mischief (6)
7. Kodiak Kowboy (7)
8. Country Star (8)
9. Z Fortune (new)
10. El Gato Malo (new)

I won't bore you with a reiteration of why I think War Pass is still the #1 Derby prospect in the nation. In general I'll try to confine my weekly analysis to the current happenings. Riley Tucker and Monba have been temporarily relegated to the radar list following some nice performances from some undefeated horses. I have Z Fortune rated the better of the two for a variety of reasons. Not among them is the brilliance factor, Z Fortune is not a terribly brilliant horse but so far in his career he has never lost. In fact he has never really appeared in danger of losing. He has run on three different tracks, shown the ability to win on the pace or from off it and each time the final furlong has been fairly comfortable for him. Although he has been driven to the line he has never had to deal with pressure late on. His speed figures are quite decent for this stage in his career. He received a 95 for the LeComte, as long as he continues to improve his level of performance on the racetrack he will move up this list. I do not expect him to remain undefeated all the way to the Derby but if he can improve even without winning he will be a dangerous horse. He is bred to love the distance and physically he looks like he'll love a route of ground. The horse that was directly behind him in the LeComte, Blackberry Road, is getting a decent amount of attention but not from me. He needs to start winning races to get included. The classiest loser of this crop is Pyro, I don't need two horses who can't win on the list. El Gato Malo was breathtaking in the San Rafael. He is a beautiful mover who in his short career has shown a few different facets and most of all, sheer brilliance. The pace of the San Rafael did setup for him but the way he quickly accelerated was the sign of a good horse. In his previous start he also showed willingness to get through tight gaps with ease. So he's brave as well as quick. The world is seemingly at his feet and in terms of visual impression while in motion you'd be hard pressed to find any that match him. But I do have a few questions about him. He has the look of a miler. His quickness and breeding suggest that perhaps his best distance will be 9f and below. That isn't written in stone though as there are thousands of examples of horses outstaying their pedigree. The best thing we can do is observe him over the coming months. But there is also one more factor that makes me nervous. He has never been on dirt and it's highly possible that he may never try dirt until the Derby itself. That is far from an ideal situation, although he's bred for dirt you never quite know how a horse will do on its first time out. Especially in a race like the Derby where kickback is nearly unavoidable. As is often the case, the horses we see with the greatest capacity for brilliance also have some real frailties.

On the radar: Riley Tucker (9), Monba (10), Salute The Sarge, Slew's Tiznow, Wicked Style, Atoned, Etched, Fidelio, Alaazo, J Be K, Wise Answer, Turf War, Z Humor, Cowboy Cal

1 comment:

Power Cap said...

I think you ranked El Gato Malo too low. Other than that your list is on point.