Friday, January 23, 2015

Kentucky Derby Top Twelve: 1-23-15

1. Dortmund (Big Brown - Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) Trained by Bob Baffert
Breezed seven furlongs in a bullet 1:23 2/5 on January 21st at Santa Anita and is targeting a start in the February 7th Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita. To see him working this sharply 2 1/2 weeks before his seasonal debut suggests that he will be ready to roll in the Lewis.

2. American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessmma, by Yankee Gentleman) Trained by Bob Baffert
Recently-crowned juvenile champion still hasn't posted an official workout since scratching from the Breeders' Cup with a minor injury, but there's still plenty of time to get back on track before the Derby.

3. Texas Red (Afleet Alex - Ramatuelle, by Jeune Homme) Trained by Keith Desormeaux
The runner-up to American Pharoah in the Eclipse award voting, Texas Red continues to train forwardly for his expected seasonal debut in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), most recently breezing six furlongs in 1:14 flat at Santa Anita Park.

4. Calculator (In Summation - Back to Basics, by Alphabet Soup) Trained by Peter Miller
The question now is where will this talented colt run next? Does he attempt to match strides with Dortmund and Firing Line in the Robert B. Lewis, or settle down and wait for the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) on March 7th? Either option seems suitable, so it will be interesting to see which route his connections choose to take.

5. Frosted (Tapit - Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin
He drew the rail for Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, which may not be the most ideal -- I still have memories of Buddy's Saint in the 2010 Fountain of Youth. :) But with luck, he will be able to work out a nice ground-saving trip, and as long as he finishes well in his first start of the year, this should set him up well for bigger prep races down the road.

6. Imperia (Medaglia d'Oro - Cocoa Beach, by Doneraile Court) Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin
Breezed a half-mile in :49 flat on January 17th at Palm Meadows, but still appears to be a few weeks away from his seasonal debut.

7. Firing Line (Line of David - Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) Trained by Simon Callaghan
Turned in a nice five-furlong workout at Santa Anita on January 17th, going five furlongs in a quick :59.80. He's gearing up for a rematch with Dortmund in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and it will be interesting to see if the shorter Santa Anita homestretch can help Firing Line turn the tables on his rival.

8. Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway - Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled's Song) Trained by Todd Pletcher
On January 17th, he turned in his first workout since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), breezing three furlongs in a moderate :37.40 at Palm Beach Downs. At this point, it looks like he will be back to the races by early March, which means that the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) could be a logical option.

9. Bold Conquest (Curlin - One for Jim, by Distorted Humor) Trained by Steve Asmussen
Breezed five furlongs in an easy 1:04 3/5 on January 19th at Fair Grounds, his third workout of the year. Well-bred colt should only get better as the races get longer, and I'm looking forward to his return to the races.

10. Upstart (Flatter - Party Silks, by Touch Gold) Trained by Richard Violette, Jr.
Returns to action on Saturday in the Holy Bull Stakes, where he will face Frosted in Gulfstream's first official Derby prep. Having already secured six Kentucky Derby qualification points, a win in the Holy Bull would propel him to 16, which would put him in excellent shape for qualifying to the Derby.

11. Acceptance (Vronsky - Allswellthatnswell, by Perfect Mandate) Trained by Donald Warren
He is entered in Saturday's California Cup Derby at Santa Anita, where we should get a better feel for just how good this California-bred colt is. He's trained very sharply for the race, breezing a mile in 1:40 1/5 on January 15th and five furlongs in 1:00 flat on January 21st, suggesting that he's ready to turn in a very big effort.

12. Far Right (Notional - Zindi, by Vindication) Trained by Ron Moquett
Overcame some traffic at the three-eighths pole to win the Smarty Jones Stakes in eye-catching fashion, although it's hard to say if he could have beaten Mr. Z. if the latter hadn't bolted outward in the homestretch. Still, the Smarty Jones marked another major step in the right direction, and his one-run style should prove well-suited to the Kentucky Derby.

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