Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

Derby Top 10 - February 5th

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. Z Fortune (9)
8. Crown Of Thorns (new)
9. El Gato Malo (10)
10. Monba (new)

A slight shuffling in the top 10 this week after a nice performance by Crown Of Thorns and a re-evaluation of a couple of the contenders. Kodiak Kowboy was dropped from the Top 10 after his latest few works indicate that he's still a good ways off his first start of the year. He may not even get going until March. Considering that he was also questionable to be a route horse in the first place I think the time has come to drop him. I still respect his class and he is the kind of horse who should run well no matter where he is put. But do I realistically see him beating every other 3yo on the first Saturday in May? No, I don't. The axe also fell on Country Star, through no real fault of her own but it is looking increasingly like she won't run in the Derby. As of right now I believe she is only set to have one prep race before the Oaks and Derby and her connections have still not indicated that the Derby is a possibility. Now onto the more positive news. Crown Of Thorns appeared to be a real star in the making when he broke his maiden. He confirmed that impression this weekend in the Robert Lewis. The field was not extremely tough but he did beat Indian Sun by the same margin as El Gato Malo. He is a beautifully horse and is bred to run all day, I love Mandella as a trainer and he has such a quick and handy turn of foot. He used it to good effect when a hole on the rail opened up. He shot right through and then showed even more maturity when responding to urging. It was good that Coast Guard made him run a little but in the end it was clear that Crown Of Thorns was a far better horse. I'd be really excited to have this one. If this list were based solely on 3yo form he would be ranked second only to Z Fortune. His next race should come against the tough Colonel John but I would not necessarily bet against him. The second best race of the weekend by a 3yo was run by Alaazo who moves to the top of the radar list. You will not find a horse who is better bred for this race. By AP Indy out of Atelier and trained by Bill Mott Alaazo has all the tools. Not a brilliant horse by any means he still seems to have success in spite of not paying much attention. He never looks as if he's really putting his head down and getting to business. On Monday he won his second lifetime start in a 9f allowance at Gulfstream. His pilot seemed to have to keep him interested on the backside but he simply ambled his way to the front once the real running started. He gives the impression that with time and maturity he will be much more than he is at this stage. Although Barrier Reef earned a 94 BSF in the Whirlaway (which is very solid for this time of year) I was not sufficiently impressed with either he or Roman Emperor to add the to the radar. They did give Giant Moon a good form reference but I think this pair is destined to be second class. This coming weekend features the Risen Star where we will get a lot of guidance because Pyro, Z Fortune, Signature Move and Visionaire are all set to clash as well as a few other solid contenders. Anyone who finishes in the top three must be considered a legitimate Derby contender.

On the radar: Alaazo, Signature Move, Elysium Fields, Visionaire, Kentucky Bear, Riley Tucker, Jockey Ridge, Atoned, Etched, Fidelio, J Be K, Wise Answer, Turf War, Z Humor, Massive Drama, Cowboy Cal, Golden Yank, Denis Of Cork, Giant Moon

Dropped: Kodiak Kowboy (7), Country Star (8)

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