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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

2013 Kentucky Derby – The End of Year Sweet 16

1. Power Broker (Pulpit-Shop Again, by Wild Again) Bob Baffert – Despite a rather uninspiring career record, this son of Pulpit is the one colt I consider the most likely to make it to the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner's circle as we put a ribbon on 2012. I'm not sure any single juvenile performance was better than his romping score in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, and I've already drawn a big, bold line through his disappointing fifth place finish last time in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. That day he was hung way wide against the track bias, and clearly lost more ground than the five lengths in which he was beaten. He's one of many good ones in his three-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer's barn, but I think he might be the one to bring him to number four. 
 
2. Dewey Square (Bernardini-Somethinaboutbetty, by Forestry) Dale Romans – I wasn't sure how to gauge this leggy son of Bernardini after a pair of easy wins in an Hoosier Park maiden and a Churchill allowance, but after watching him striding out to the wire against the likes of Uncaptured and Frac Daddy, he has become my top dark horse. I suspect it is just a matter of time before local trainer, Dale Romans, makes good in the Kentucky Derby, and this one who gives me every impression of being a long-winded type, just may be the one.
 
 
3. Uncaptured (Lion Heart-Captivating, by Arch) Mark Casse - While his win in the Iroquois was overpowering, his victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club was anything but easy. The stretch battle with Frac Daddy gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his toughness and class, which he did with flying colors. The five-time stakes winner is now 2-for-2 over the same course that he will see in next spring's run for the roses, giving me even more reason to believe he deserves to be on a short list of the winter book favorites. Canadian based trainer, Mark Casse looks to be on the verge of making some noise in a Triple Crown race sooner than later.


4. Violence (Medaglia d'Oro -Violent Beauty, by Gone West) Todd Pletcher – Solid and professional back-to-back-to-back wins in a sprint at Saratoga, Aqueduct's Nashua Stakes, and the Grade 1 CashCall Fururity have this good-looking son of Medaglia d'Oro high on just about everyone's Derby list, and I am no different. His tactical style should suit him well in any situation, and he has done absolutely nothing wrong to date, although he has yet to knock my socks off in any of his races. Pletcher has him back in Florida with a string of other promising youngsters 
 

5. Bern Identity (Bernstein-Stormy Sunday, by Good and Tough) Kelly Breen – I look at this one's breeding and I want to discount his chances going 1 1/4 miles, but then I watch him race, and I realize that many of the good ones outrun their family tree. He has been nothing but excellent this year, and his run in the 1 1/16 miles of the Delta Jackpot was exactly the kind of determination to overcome obstacles that can be so important with 20 horses at Churchill Downs. In the excellent hands of Kelly Breen, I expect this one to make plenty of noise leading up to the Derby.


6. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid-Kreisleriana, by Seeking the Gold) Chad Brown – This is one horse I absolutely need to see on dirt. In each of his four races, all on turf, the Chad Brown trainee has finished with a big closing kick. He gives every indication of wanting longer, and his pedigree clearly supports that belief. He already has two graded stakes wins, and if the BC Juvenile Turf had been more than a flat mile, he may have had a third. The switch to dirt will be interesting, but again, his pedigree promises that he will be able to handle the brown stuff. I think it's time Chad Brown joins the Kentucky Derby party.
 

7. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy-Skipper's Mate, by Skip Away) Ken McPeek - Ken McPeek is as high as a kite on this one and judging from his first three races, especially the two at Churchill Downs, it is easy to see why. The one negative you could say is that he had every chance to get by Uncaptured in the last, and did not do so, but he has plenty of time to improve for a trainer who knows how to get a horse ready for a classic distance. Comparing him to the great Skip Away, as McPeek did, may be the kiss of death, but there is definitely a lot to like.
  
  
8. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan's Holiday-Steelin', by Orientate) Todd Pletcher - Shanghai Bobby was unquestionably the best two-year-old of 2012. He did it all, early and often, from 4 1/2 furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth, but let's face it ... how often do the top juvenile hotshots continue to be so the following spring these days? The answer, of course, is rarely, and couple that with a serious lack of two-turn pedigree showing up on the female half of his pedigree, and I have serious reservations about his chances going long on the First Saturday in May. He retains a top eight spot out of my great respect for his 2012 season. 


9. Normandy Invasion (Tapit-Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor) Chad Brown – After a sustained rally that carried him from way back to on the verge of blowing the doors off his Grade 2 Remsen competition, something strange happened. Overanalyze dug in, and it became a head-bobbing thriller to the wire that this son of Tapit came out on the wrong end of the photo. Still it was a strong performance for this lightly raced Chad Brown charge, and I'm always on the lookout for a horse with a strong closing kick on the first Saturday in May.
 

10. Goldencents (Into Mischief-Golden Works, by Banker's Gold) Doug O'Neill – Hard to knock an impressive debut performance, a good 2nd in the Grade 1 Champagne, and then a front running win from the outside post in the million dollar Delta Downs Jackpot, in his only three starts. He looks the like the best right now for the Kentucky Derby winning trainer of 2012, but the big question is whether he can carry his speed the full ten furlongs of the Derby. I see fair reason to believe either way on the subject, but if he can stretch out, Goldencents will be a major player next spring. 
 
 
11. Fury Kapcori (Tiznow-Gin Running, by Go For Gin) Jerry Hollendorfer– Violence may have won the CashCall Futurity, but this colt impressed me every bit as much. Part of a four-pronged pace battle, he showed plenty of fight without ever getting a real real breather. The winner got the better trip, and the jump on him, coming up the rail, but I loved the way he dug back in for the stretch drive. He's in good hands with Hollendorfer, and with horses like Tiznow and Go For Gin in his immediate pedigree, it would be easy to see this one proving stubborn down the Kentucky Derby lane.
 
  
12. Sign (Pulpit-Cross, by Mighty) Al Stall– Considering everything that female horses have accomplished in the past several years, why not include a filly in my initial list of Kentucky Derby contenders? Easily my favorite two-year-old filly of 2012, Sign has shown me everything I could have hoped to see in her first two races. In easy wins in a Saratoga maiden race, and the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs, she demonstrated patience, the ability to overcome trouble and traffic, and a strong closing kick that I believe will prove very valuable whether the talented daughter of Pulpit has designs on the Kentucky Oaks or the Kentucky Derby.
 
 
13. Capo Bastone (Street Boss-Fight to Love, by Fit to Fight) Todd Pletcher – Todd Pletcher's juvenile cup runneth over as this promising colt was recently transferred to his barn. The question is, was Capo Bastone ready to inhale the field early in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile stretch, only to be denied by a serious bleeding issue, or was it another case of the son of freshman sire, Street Boss, hanging in a stakes race. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I would have taken even-money on him coming off the turn that day, but another hang-in-the-stretch from him, and I will quickly get off the bandwagon. 
 
 

14. Overanalyze (Dixie Union-Unacloud, by Unaccounted For) Todd Pletcher – I cannot quite get a handle on this one as he has looked great at times, see the Futurity and Remsen, but also not quite grade 1 at times, see the Hopeful and Iroquois. Despite this, I believe he deserves to be on this list if for nothing less than showing a strong will to win in both the Futurity, when coming from the clouds, and then in the Remsen, when it looked to all the world that Normandy Invasion was ready to power right by. 
 
 
15. Archwarrior (Arch-Winner's Edge, by Seeking the Gold) Todd Pletcher - Prediction: Arch will sire a Kentucky Derby winner before it is all said and done. Now whether or not it is because of this much talked about youngster remains a big question mark. While I was not swept into the hype machine that was rolling for the entire Saratoga meet about this one being the second coming, I also am experienced enough to realize that the large thud that came from bandwagon jumping after his 4th place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne was entirely too premature.


16. Gulfport (Unbridled's Song-Dream Supreme, by Seeking the Gold) Dale Romans - I'm not sure which of his promising youngsters that Romans likes better, but my take is that Dewey Square is the one that may turn out better at a classic distance. Having said that, this son of Unbridled's Song looks to be developing into the real deal, and I think his days of being a non-stakes winner are numbered.

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Kentucky Derby – The End of Year Sweet 16...

I'd love to fit Egg in, but he just hasn't ran yet like I want him to.
We have the same 1,5,9 and 10.
How could I have missed this? I Have 1 Uncaptured 2 Bern Identity 3 Frac Daddy 4 He's Had Enough 5 Power Broker 6 Dewey Square 7 Overanylze 8 Goldencents 9 Balance The Books 10 Shanghai Bobby.
Here it goes, very tough to rank them, though: #1: Uncaptured- He has shown heart, grit, and obvious talent. Casse knows what it is like to win the derby (Monarchos) plus, he is a fabulous trainer. #2: Goldencents: He has shown so many things throughout his short career. One would think a 5 1/2 furlongs synthetic debut is not one to prep for the Champagne. Well, this one did. And ran second to a monster, known as Shanghai Bobby. His trainer is capable of winning. #3: Bern Identity: He was definitely coming at Delta. Swung wide, and not the ideal trip. He is rapidly improving, and IMO, the one to watch out for. #4: Frac Daddy: Frac Daddy is a real nice looking colt. His race against Uncaptured showed his grit. He has (IMO) a very nice turn of foot, and a nice kick. #5: Power Broker: He got killed by the bias last out. Plus, he had a non-ideal post, and was forced wide. Still only loss by 5. #6: Violence: I like his tactical style. He is a very professional horse, and talented. I don't like the fact he is trained by Todd, though. #7: Dewey Square- He was coming in the KYJC. He seems like he might want more distance. I am not a fan of Romans, buut he can certainly train a derby horse. He, with Bern, is the one to watch out for, because of his rapid improvement. #8: Fury Kapcori- He showed some heartin the cashcall. He got beat by a good horse to. Off that performance, I only see improvement. Under good supervision too. #9: Balance the Books- Under Chad Brown, I love this horse. He has a MONSTER closing kick. Dirt is still a Q mark though. Either way, I think he has potential. #10: Shanghai Bobby- I agree with Brian here. I don't see him making ten. But, I will not leave him out of my top 10, just due to the fact that he had an astounding year. I think he is better suited at 8 or 8.5 though. That is my top 10 rankings.
  • rafirox · Forgot to mention Goldy's capability to handle pressure, and a fast pace. 22 45 at delta? 8.5 furlongs??? Still won. I think his speed will carry out. Again, JMO. · 692 days ago
Happy birthday to all of the three year olds who are looking forward to a great 2013 spring!
@Junebug, if they do we could have a really good year, there is some good talent out there.
I just hope they last longer than 2012's horses.
I love you Uncaptured :)
Power Broker all the way
Brian, so many are a fan of Sb and not BI. Why? To that I have no clue. But, I can tell you this-what you said is true. The way they run, BI looks the part for a mile and a fourth. SB seems to be a miler at best, but he may just be a speeding bullet that needs to be calmed at the start. If he can calm, settle, and drive in the straight-away (as we watched Bern do) then he would overtake him on this list. Hope that helps anyone who is flustered about it. I will pick you apart a little here and say I wouldn't put Violence up there yet. he's impressive, yes, but not as good as many below him.
I like Uncaptured, and Frac daddy on this list. Frac needs more foundation, but has a nice pedigree, and could definitely get better as he matures. Uncaptured needs to show if he can handle more distance, but his heart has already been displayed, and he showed he doesn't like to be headed. Another thing about Uncaptured is that he is a very very solid 2 year old on both surfaces, and has had plenty of runs over a mile already under his belt. OF COURSE we have yet to see the Shackleford type horses who come on in the preps at 3.
oops- wrong post. sorry!
Japan and Hong Kong both get huge crowds
Only 1 Baffert Horse? You're see some of his horses entering the Sweet 16 before long led by Flashback.
BIG indicatiors of really advancing style happen like Winning Colors: early in their THREE year old seasonn.
sdj777, first let me say the difference between being rated #5 and #8 is very small at this point in time. The reason I like Bern Identity slightly better than Shanghai Bobby right now, as far as forecasting which has a better chance of succeeding at ten furlongs in 4 1/2 months, is because of what I have seen on the track ... Bern Identity gives me the impression of getting the distance more than Shanghai Bobby does. Having said that, Shanghai Bobby has had a great juvenile season and has definitely earned the championship.
Shakespeare (or possibly Edward De Vere) stated very long ago: MUCH ado about nothing....Alive and well here!
Not sure I understand the double standard between your views on Bern Identity and Shanghai Booby. You say this about BI "I look at this one's breeding and I want to discount his chances going 1 1/4 miles, but then I watch him race, and I realize that many of the good ones outrun their family tree". And then you say this about SB"couple that with a serious lack of two-turn pedigree showing up on the female half of his pedigree, and I have serious reservations about his chances going long on. Why can one overcome his pedigree, but the other can't?
Purple Egg is actually in my Top 20, Armada.
I'm sad to see no Purple Egg. But I guess that's just me dreaming. heh

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.