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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

New York Dominates Kentucky Derby Contenders

New York’s Derby contenders now dominate the most recent NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll that was released on Monday, March 11. New York based runners currently hold five of the first six spots in the poll with only position number two being held by Florida based, Itsmyluckyday.
It was the combination of recent impressive wins by Verrazano and Vyjack, and the defeat of the top two west coast runners, Goldencents and Flashback, that caused many top spots to shift to the New Yorkers. Verrazano remained undefeated with his win in the Tampa Bay Derby, while Goldencents and Flashback finished fourth and second in the San Felipe.
The $1,000,000 Wood Memorial is shaping up as battle between unbeaten New Yorkers. The April 6th grade one stake could be billed as: ‘V’ versus ‘V’. Verrazano, who has won all three of his starts, is expected to vie for the 100 Road to the Derby points against the four for four Vyjack.
Orb, Shanghai Bobby, and Itsmyluckyday are all headed to the March 30th $1,000,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, where they will battle for the 100 Kentucky Derby points.
When the third ‘V’, Violence, was retired due to injury, trainer Todd Pletcher lost one of his top Derby contenders. Yet he still holds four of the eight spots on this list.  He is joined by a who’s who of New York trainers: Shug McGaughey, Rudy Rodriguez, Gary Contessa, and Chad Brown. Over the years these trainers have won many New York training titles, but have only one Kentucky Derby victory between them.
1) Verrazano (More Than Ready)
Last race – 1st Tampa Bay Derby – TB – 1 mile 1/16 – BSF 101
Record – 3: 3-0-0 - $261,300
Road to the Derby points – 50 – rank 3
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – John Velazquez
Derby Future 1 odds: 11-1
Derby Future 2 odds: 9-1*
NTRA Poll ranking - 1
Probable next race – Wood Memorial (G1), Apr. 6, AQU
2) Orb (Malibu Moon)
Last race – 1st Fountain of Youth (G2) – GP – 1 1/16 mile – BSF 97
Record – 6: 3-0-1 - $321,050
Road to the Derby points – 50 – rank 2
Trainer – Shug McGaughey
Rider – John Velazquez
Derby Future 1 odds: part of the mutuel field 8-5
Derby Future 2 odds: 12-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 3
Probable next race – Florida Derby (G1) – GP
3) Vyjack (Into Mischief)
Last race – 1st Gotham (G2) - AQU – 1 1/16 mile – BSF 92
Record – 4: 4-0-0 - $442,200
Road to the Derby points – 50 – rank 1
Trainer – Rudy Rodriguez
Rider – Joel Rosario
Derby Future 1 odds: 49-1
Derby Future 2 odds: 11-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 4
Probable next race – Wood Memorial (G1), Apr. 6, AQU
4) Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday)
Last race – 2nd Holy Bull (G3) – 1 mile 1/16th  – BSF 100
Record – 6: 5-1-0 - $1,767,000
Road to the Derby points– 24 – Rank 7
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – Rosie Napravnik
Derby Future 1 odds: 14-1
Derby Future 2 odds: 16-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 5
Probable next race - Florida Derby – GP – Mar. 30
5) Revolutionary (War Pass)
Last race – 1st Withers (G3) – Aqueduct – 1 1/16th mile – BSF 86
Record – 5: 2-1-2 - $188,500
Road to the Derby points – 10 - Rank 22
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – Javier Castellano
Derby Future 1 odds: 13-1
Derby Future 2 odds: 15-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 6
Probable next race – Louisiana Derby (G2) – FG – Mar. 30
6) Rydilluc (Medaglio d’Oro)
Last race – 1st Palm Beach (G3) – GP - 1 mile 1/8th  T – BSF 89
Record – 4: 3-0-0 - $158,490
Road to the Derby points– 0
Trainer – Gary Contessa
Rider – Edgar Prado
Derby Future 1 odds: part of the mutuel field 8-5
Derby Future 2 odds: part of the mutuel field 3-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 18
Probable next race – Blue Grass (G1) – Kee – Apr. 13
7) Palace Malice (Curlin)
Last race – 3rd Risen Star (G2) – FG - 1 mile 1/16th
Record – 4: 1-2-1 - $112,0900
Road to the Derby points – 10 – Rank 24
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – JJ Castellano
Derby Future 1 odds: part of the mutuel field 8-5
Derby Future 2 odds: 40-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 21
Probable next race – Louisiana Derby (G2) – FG – Mar. 30
8) Normandy Invasion (Tapit)
Last race – 5th Risen Star (G2) – FG - 1 mile 1/16th
Record – 4: 1-1-0 - $100,240
Road to the Derby points – 4 – Rank 33
Trainer – Chad Brown
Rider – Jose Lezcano
Derby Future 1 odds: 15-1
Derby Future 2 odds: 17-1
NTRA Poll ranking - 11
Probable next race – Wood Memorial (G1), Apr. 6, Aqu 


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Older Comments about New York Dominates Kentucky Derby Contenders...

FINAL time does not qualify any of these babies, it is HOW they distribute their energy on the way to longer distances. VISUALLY this one apperared to do that,,,,will have to see the numbers before saying yes or no.
I'll take orb over vyja k over 1 1/4 I think vyjack is screwed after 9 ;F
Still skeptical of Vyjack beyond 9 furlongs. Derby scenario: Go to the front? Get burned out on the pace and fade. Take a closing position? Try to navigate through tons of traffic and either hit a wall in deep stretch or maybe get a small piece underneath. He needs a solid final time in the Wood to be a serious Derby contender, IMO.
ORB---- kentucky derby he will win------florida derby cake walk
No. The Illinois Derby was left out of the Derby Points races, sd?13.
Sidechoke, the Illinois Derby is not a derby qualifying race.
The Illinois Derby never really was OTHER than the copy cats somehow thinking that they could go the route of War Emblem.
There is little doubt that Oaklawn has been the strongest preparatory route to the big dance for many a yeat now.
question. Is the illinois derby a derby qualifying race? Reason I ask is its not on equibases list
yes, the myopic east coast writers can't see whats going on at Oaklawn or the Fairgrounds
Anxious to see Revolutionary next time out in the Louisiana Derby. The Withers is all that there really is to base my opinion on but unfortunately the field he beat hasn't done much since. So, hopefully next time out will show me more about his chances.
There has been an unusual proliferation of "V" names this year. With that being said, I have to agree with Brian. A V versus V showdown in the Wood has my complete attention as well.
A potential Verrazano - Vyjack clash in the Wood has my full attention.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


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