• Long shot Stormy Lucy (65-1) upsets the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in the last stride. Posted 1 day ago
  • Dortmund romps home a winner in the Native Diver.Posted 2 days ago
  • Commissioner much the best in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.Posted 2 days ago
  • Chiropractor edges March for a Hollywood Derby win at 14-1.Posted 2 days ago
  • Airoforce takes to the dirt in a big way, pulling away to win the Kentucky Jockey Club.Posted 2 days ago
  • Carina Mia turns back Stageplay in the Golden Rod.Posted 2 days ago
  • Tonalist with a late rush to just get up in the Cigar Mile!Posted 2 days ago
  • Forever Unbridled outduels Carrumba to the wire in the Comely.Posted 2 days ago
  • Mohaymen an impressive winner of Aqueduct's nine furlong Remsen.Posted 2 days ago
  • Lewis Bay runs to her odds in the Demoiselle.Posted 2 days ago

The 2013 Kentucky Derby – The Initial Sweet 16

1. Power Broker (Pulpit-Shop Again, by Wild Again) Bob Baffert – How is it that I have a colt who has only won once in five starts and is coming off a 5th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile as my top prospect for the 2013 Kentucky Derby? My answer includes several reasons. Not only did he improve with each start culminating in an overpowering score in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, but he also gives me every impression that he will thrive going long next year. Looks-wise, running style, and pedigree all give me a good feeling of his ability to go ten furlongs next spring, and the fact that he has already run several two-turn races is a positive. I have already drawn a big, bold line through his disappointing fifth place finish last time as he was hung way wide against the track bias, and clearly lost more ground than the five lengths in which he was beaten.

2. Uncaptured (Lion Heart-Captivating, by Arch) Mark Casse - On the short list of most impressive juvenile races of the year, you must include this one's big win in the Iroquois. The best two-year-old in Canada this year, Uncaptured already has a strong foundation for next year's battles. After a troubled trip while suffering his only loss in the Grey Stakes, the son of Lion Heart announced himself to American fans with the big win last month. Not only was his powerful victory in the Iroquois over good company, but it came in his first try on dirt, and it was over the same course that he'll see on the First Saturday in May.

3. Violence (Medaglia d'Oro -Violent Beauty, by Gone West) Todd Pletcher – Can you imagine a horse named Violence winning the Kentucky Derby? The answer could very well be yes in about 5 1/2 months. I was very impressed with both of his lifetime starts, a sprint at Saratoga, and a mile in Aqueduct's Nashua Stakes. His tactical style should suit him well in any situation, and his pedigree has the look of a Classic horse. He is the one to beat in next week's Remsen Stakes, in which he should get some good foundation for next spring by traversing the 1 1/8 mile trip at the Big A.

4. 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 yesterday in the 1 1/16 miles of the 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.
7. 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 seven spot out of my great respect for his 2012 season.

8. Capo Bastone (Street Boss-Fight to Love, by Fit to Fight) John Sadler – 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.
9. 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.
10. He's Had Enough (Tapit-Amelia, by Dixieland Band) Doug O'Neill – It was much easier to excuse his off-the-board, but troubled finishes in stakes races at Del Mar and Keeneland after he gave Shanghai Bobby everything he wanted in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. A solid winner of his career debut, the son of Tapit looked the part of a real Kentucky Derby prospect in his first try on the dirt, and it would come as no surprise if he followed it up with another strong effort in next month's Grade 1 CashCall Futurity.

11. Fortify (Distorted Humor -Kotuku, by A.P. Indy) Kiaran McLaughlin - This one reminds me a little too much of Kentucky Derby busts Stay Thirsty and Alpha for comfort, but on the other hand, this well bred colt is his own horse, and has a lot going for him. Good enough to be thrust right into the wolves after a strong debut win, he has performed well enough in three straight important stakes to believe that with the development and liking of a distance that his pedigree suggests, he could become a major player on the Triple Crown trail sooner than later.
12. 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.

13. Positively (Distorted Humor-Macoumba, by Mr. Prospector) Patrick Byrne - At first glance, his performance when easily beaten by Uncaptured in the Iroquois may seem like a negative to his future potential, but considering the big early move he made in that race to sweep to the lead, and the quality of that field, tells me that he is one to watch. I also like the pedigree, and his four good races already over the main track at Churchill speak well to his ability to run a good race in the Derby if he should make it that far.

14. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy-Skipper's Mate, by Skip Away) Ken McPeek - An interesting pedigree and a pair of promising maiden races are enough for me to believe that this one could be an up-and-comer on the early Derby trail. After a solid 2nd in his debut, the son of Scat Daddy treated a Churchill Downs maiden field badly going 8 1/2 furlongs/ The competition gets a whole lot more difficult next time in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, but it's a race he does not need to win to continue his progression towards next spring.
15. Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit-Exogenetic, by Unbridled's Song) Bob Baffert – I was disappointed to see this one scratched out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, because I loved his chances. Another really good looking young horse sired by Pulpit, he made an impression on me when I saw him up close at Santa Anita. Since his slight setback, he has come back working well, and I would not be surprised to see this handy debut winner make some noise in an upcoming stakes race for his multiple Kentucky Derby winning trainer.
16. Jocosity (Sharp Humor-Sobhy's Gal, by Stormy Atlantic) Todd Pletcher – His impressive maiden winner at the Spa, in which he rolled to  a 7 1/2 length victory while bettering the 1:03 barrier for 5 1/2 furlongs is proof enough of his talent. The fact that he has been off since that effort, which followed a pair of very solid efforts over the Woodbine polytrack, could mean he comes back a fresh and rested colt already with a foundation, when he stretches out in 2013. There's enough in his pedigree for me to believe that two-turn races are not out of the question.


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Older Comments about The 2013 Kentucky Derby – The Initial Sweet 16...

How many times has a late blooming colt stole the entire show? It will happen again.
I bet he has better than SB.. he will struggle over 1 and 1/8 big time
Todd has more 2 year olds this year I think Shanghai might just be one of his best. Since money is mainly involved in the sport, do you think he's gonna waste this big colt?
Pletcher gets the best/most expensive horse..He is a great trainer hence all the rich guys giving him their horses...Just a little off with the derby but any other G1 look out hes the boss..just look at the stats/eclipse trophys
I'm not a big fan of Mr. O'Neil either, FYI. I t's just the way it is and has been for Pletcher. He's a great trainer-just not a good Derby trainer. Maybe it's just because he doesn't get good 3yo's. I really don't know what goes on at the barn-all I know is he hasn't won many Derbies.
@Union Todd Pletcher is on the boom this year. He's got a lot of great 2 year olds. Also, how many derby's has trainer Doug O' Neil won?
"Mr. Todd Pletcher has tremendous chance to bag the derby" that is the way it is every year, and remind me how many Derbies he has won? Two?
it is too early to predict the 2013 derby horse, but so far i can predict that Mr. Todd Fletcher has tremendous chance to bag the derby.
Sign is amazing....hope they put her in a couple Derby qualifying races...the way it is set up, seems it will be hard for a filly to launch a Derby bid.
Thanks for pointing her out, clemmbo.
How about a female horse at Parx (Phila) named "DEIGHAN"???
How about a female horse at Parx (Phila) named "DEIGHAN"???
You have to love the way Gulfport improved his last 2. Romans know how to bring a young horse along. Lanerie going to Gulfstream to be near him for the big races is a big plus
Good list... Is anybody else interested in seeing Shakin it Up go two turns? His maiden win was devastating and I thought hie got a bad ride in the Prevue Stakes.
Brian, you are only missing one two year old who i think holds a real good chance.... Know More
and O'neill colts
Normandy Invasion is on my list.
The top 3 from the Remsen all move up.
Uncaptured has FIVE stakes wins as a two year old. 2 Graded. This is a serious horse on multi surfaces. I rate him above Shanghai Bobby IMO. I touch bias also because he is Canadian Bred :)
Good list but way too early to draw any conclusions on any of these two year olds, they are milk, leave them out long enough and they tend to sour

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