Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Early look at Saturday's preps

January 27, 2020 12:13pm
Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Early look at Saturday's preps
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park
The 2020 Kentucky Derby trail hits a new gear Saturday when three points-paying preps run coast to coast and include former top 2-year-old prospects making their first starts of the season.

Each of Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull (G3), Aqueduct's Withers (G3) and Santa Anita Park's Robert B. Lewis (G3) will award qualifying points to their Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

Here's an early look at the fields, with probables assembled via racing offices and published reports...

Grade 1 winner Tiz the Law, William Hill U.S.' current 8-1 Derby futures favorite, gets back on the beam here after suffering his first defeat in November's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. That day, he bobbled at the start and took plenty of dirt over a sloppy track.

Tiz the Law readied for this with a half-mile bullet work Sunday at the Palm Meadows Training Center; one week before, he put in a work over the Gulfstream track, too.

Tiz the Law sizes up as a strong favorite in a field filled out with local maiden and allowance winners. Caracaro registered a 92 Beyer Speed Figure earlier this month, and his debut defeat to Premier Star looks quite a bit stronger after that one followed up with an easy allowance victory.

Ete Indien and the Chad Brown-trained Toledo were 1-2 in a local Dec. 20 allowance, while Mayberry Deputy won third out on Dec. 28 having previously run into a number of future stakes runners back in Kentucky.


Remsen Stakes (G2) winner Shotski will be out to prove his front-running victory that day was no fluke. He'll get the benefit here of another 1 1/8-mile trip at Aqueduct for trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer.

Three others stand out on the probables list, with Vanzzy showing improved numbers Dec. 14 when he won Woodbine's Display Stakes over synthetic. Monday Morning Qb gets a stiffer test having won Laurel Park's Dec. 28 Heft Stakes, and Todd Pletcher-trained Portos continues climbing the ladder off a Dec. 31 maiden win at this trip.

Linda Rice, who we're more used to seeing in the New York-bred ranks, has one who hails from Kentucky in Max Player, who has started twice at a mile at Parx Racing, more recently distancing to a 4 1/4-length victory to earn his spot in the Withers.

This looks, on paper, like a two and possibly one-horse race led by Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) hero Thousand Words. The $1 million colt out-dueled Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Anneau d'Or and figures to improve with the experience in his third start.

Connections initially looked at waiting until March to enter Thousand Words again, but word from Bob Baffert was that this colt was too energetic to wait. The Pioneerof the Nile colt runs for a partnership of Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm.

Tizamagician, a popular Jan. 1 maiden winner given he's campaigned in partnership with the MyRacehorse group, will get his step up to stakes company. Richard Mandella saw the Tiznow colt run second four times before breaking through, a scenario not unlike Omaha Beach before he got going in the right direction as a 3-year-old.

In this field, perhaps Taishan deserves another look. He was highly regarded into the Jan. 4 Sham Stakes (G3) but that day, as with the rest, was run off his feet by Authentic, another from the Baffert barn.


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About the Derby Radar

Back for the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps down the line. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner ( if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.

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