Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kentucky Derby Top 10

1. I Want Revenge (2)
2. Imperial Council (3)
3. Fresian Fire (6)
4. Pioneerof The Nile
5. The Pamplemousse (7)
6. Old Fashioned (1)
7. Desert Party (10)
8. Dunkirk (New)
9. Theregoesjojo (New)
10. Quality Road (New)

Also Eligible: Hello Broadway, General Quarters, Rachel Alexandra

This was certainly the hardest top ten list to compile so far.

It was obvious several spots were going to be open, but when analyzing those who are worthy of filling in those spots I came to the realization that they were every bit as questionable as the horses they were looking to replace. It was also difficult because I had 11 horses I could make a case for.

In the end I gave in to temptation and included three boom or bust types that will all be facing off against each other in two weeks.

Old Fashioned took a big hit. Some will be dropping him off lists entirely. I elected not to for a couple reasons. One, the top 5 horses are the ringers. If you had to lay your money down on a horse to win the Derby right now a majority of people would be siding with one of my top 5. Beyond that it’s a crapshoot. I cannot say with conviction that Old Fashioned is any less likely to win the Derby off that performance than a horse like Dunkirk, (an impressive allowance winner) who will not get into the field unless he wins the Florida Derby. Secondly, Afleet Alex did run poorly in the Rebel and was able to rebound to take the Arkansas Derby and win two thirds of the Triple Crown.

Plus, since others will run their final preps before him, I can adjust his ranking as other prove to be more worthy. It’s relatively pointless to drop him off the list, only for a couple of the Florida horses to throw in clunkers and have to re-rank him. A decent list doesn’t have horses moving up and down like a yo-yo.

Fresian Fire moves up three spots after his dominating win in the Louisiana Derby. He actually stands to move up higher after the two ahead of him face off in the Wood Memorial in three weeks. His status on the list will be predicated by his schedule as well. If they elect to run him before the Derby he is bound to fall down my list as the horse could be over the top for the Derby. If they train him up, and we see the same workout pattern as Jones had for Hard Spun in a similar situation two years ago, he’ll maintain his position or move up.

Hello Broadway was dropped off the list. I spent a considerable amount of time deciding whether to have him or Quality Road at the ten spot. I thought his effort in the Tampa Bay Derby was much better than it looks on paper. It was his first run around two turns and despite going wide the entire way around he made a dynamic move on the turn before flattening out. I still believe he could impact the Derby and Triple Crown, but I do have to be realistic, he is just G2 placed (sprinting) so far.

General Quarters gets dropped after a race where he never had a call. He had a poor trip, being checked multiple times into the turn and blanketed to the wire by other horses. I was actually proud of his effort all things considered, as he was still trying with a sixteenth to go when he finally found room to run. I’m fond of the horse and the trainer (who’s only horse is General Quarters) but again its time to be honest and the General is just a G3 winner over the quirky Tampa track. He’d make a Top 12 list and I still think has an outside shot of factoring in another prep, but he is behind the eight ball at this point.

So on to the additions of Dunkirk, Theregoesjojo and Quality Road. All are Florida based and all are being pointed to the Florida Derby. One if not two will emerge from that race a short priced choice in the Derby. The first question is why haven’t I ranked them before…

Dunkirk is undefeated but only an allowance winner. He became all the rage after winning both his maiden and allowance races after dreadful trips. (He went about 10 wide into the FIRST turn in his last race) I agree the horse has a lot of potential but I’ve been hesitant to rank a horse too high at this time of year who has yet to run in a stake, yet to run fast and has to win a G1 race in his first try against stakes company to gain entrance to the Derby field. (Because of his lack of stakes earnings a second place finish would not give him the needed earnings to make the race)

Quality Road hasn’t been ranked because he’s never been around two turns and will be coming in to the Derby with just one two turn prep under his belt. It’s really that simple. He looked dynamite winning the Fountain of Youth but it was a one-turn event. Had that race been around two turns he’d be ranked up there with I Want Revenge. His fast Beyer in the FOY has caused many to overrate him in my opinion. He may be a real Derby threat, but we haven’t seen enough yet in my opinion to declare that.

Theregoesjojo has the same issue with a lack of two turn races this year and his claim to fame so far is running a fast closing second to Quality Road. ( I give him a fair chance to turn the tide on Quality Road in the Fla. Derby. He’s put up some fast figures and will be running late)

All three of these horses would be bucking the historical profile of a Derby winner, but in the modern day where Big Brown’s, Barbaro’s and Giacomo’s have all bucked one trend or another, any one of these Florida horses is eligible to be a major player if they progress well enough in the Florida Derby.

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