Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

Derby Top 10 - March 11th

1. War Pass (1)
2. Pyro (2)
3. Z Fortune (3)
4. Cool Coal Man (4)
5. Denis Of Cork (5)
6. Colonel John (6)
7. Elysium Fields (7)
8. El Gato Malo (8)
9. Court Vision (9)
10. Georgie Boy (new)

The more I see this crop the more I wonder if it is all simply pointing to the fact that War Pass or an unknown like Tomcito or Big Brown will be the top horse. The Louisiana Derby was a fine race but realistically it was more reminiscent of Fifty Stars than Peace Rules. Pyro was admirably professional and I did love the way he was closer to the pace. But the pace was on the slow side again and the race itself wound up being slow. Tale of Ekati, Majestic Warrior and J Be K all put nails in their coffins as Derby contenders. It simply won't happen for any of those three. Pyro, while consistent and a nice horse to watch visually is far from convincing when you look at the clock. War Pass is fast in every facet and Pyro will need to run fast in order to beat him. So far he has not even made it back to the level he was at as a 2yo. He still has one more chance of course in the Blue Grass and he remains second because of his accomplishments but he has a greater chance of slipping down the list than he has of going up. Horses like Denis of Cork, Z Fortune and Elysium Fields may all get past him before his next prep. None of the other horses in the Louisiana Derby have a Derby future. The Gotham was a bit of a bizarre race in that we were unable to watch the majority of it. Visual impressions are hard to glean. What we do know is that Texas Wildcatter looked home free at the 1/16th pole but Visionaire rallied strongly to deny him. It was not a big enough effort to put Visionaire in the Top 10 because my feeling is that the race was not all that strong and that Visionaire himself is more the type to finish second or third behind a good horse. But with the way contenders have been dropping off this year he may well be in the Top 10 before too long. Big Brown and Hey Byrn made some noise with nice allowance wins but Hey Byrn is not on my watch list at all and Big Brown is just on the radar. The reality is that I'm not sure Hey Byrn is all that great and Big Brown is terribly inexperienced. He is monstrously talented, perhaps more so than any horse aside from War Pass and Pyro but experience is a big factor and so is seasoning. As it stands he'll enter the Derby with just one prep around two turns. For me that is too big of a negative to ignore. He has also been struggling with foot problems so even with an explosive victory in the Florida Derby I'm going to be cautious. The crop is almost crying out for a big performance from new shooters like Tomcito, Shediak or Big Brown. Otherwise it is looking more and more like a War Pass walkover. His questionable stamina may not ever factor into the equation if none of the others are fast enough to get near him.

On the radar: Visionaire, Big Brown, Atoned, Cowboy Cal, Shediak, Tomcito

Dropped: Tale Of Ekati (10), J Be K, Giant Moon


peeptoad said...

I'll post my upadted top 10 later, but overall I agree with your assessment to this point. I'm uninspired this year...and if I had to wager on the Derby right now it would be a War Pass/ALL exacta, and hope for a super longshot underneath.

peeptoad said...

1. War Pass
2. Pyro
3. Col. John
4. Z Fortune
5. El Gato Malo
6. Denis of Cork
7. Elysium Fields
8. Cool Coal Man
9. Court Vision
10. Visionaire

Atoned (TB Derby), Georgie Boy (San Felipe), Face the Cat (FL Derby??), Shediak (San Felipe)

No real changes except that Into Mischief was finally dropped since he hasn't worked since the beginning of February and is too far behind the 8-ball to stay on as a top contender. Visionaire inherits the 10th spot sort of by default. The TB Derby should be a walkover for WP, the San Felipe features some sprinters stretching out (and a Euro invader), and the Rebel should have Anak Nakal, Z Fortune, and a bunch of also-rans from the Southwest. Hoping for a breakout performance from somebody, but not sure it'll happen this weekend.

Kennedy said...

"Hoping for a breakout performance from somebody, but not sure it'll happen this weekend."

It seems as though we've been waiting for a breakout performance all spring. It hasn't come yet and perhaps it won't and War Pass will win by default but it is quite surprising that no one has really stepped up and run some nice figs. Perhaps Z Fortune will be that horse.

Our lists are more or less the same. The only real difference is that you like Elysium Fields more than Cool Coal Man.