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2013 Kentucky Derby: The Shakeup Sweet 16

OXBOW ridden by Jon Court wins The 69 Running of Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course, New Orleans, LA on January 19, 2013.
1. Verrazano (More Than Ready-Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway) Todd Pletcher – The first truly brilliant horse of this foal crop has been identified, and his name is Verrazano. Now comes the hard part. Much like Eskendereya of three years ago, having the most talent does not necessarily mean that you will win the Kentucky Derby, or even make it to the race for that matter. I'm hoping he is more like Curlin than Eskendereya in that regard, because I believe this horse is the real deal. But then again, Curlin did not win the Derby either, did he?  [0 points] 
2. Power Broker (Pulpit-Shop Again, by Wild Again) Bob Baffert – Tick, tick, tick. The hour is getting late and my preseason top selection has still not made it back to the worktab. The good news is it not too late to begin work and get in two solid preps, but that is only assuming he hits the track soon. Obviously, I still like the romping Frontrunner winner, but I can't keep him this high too much longer. [10 points] 
3. Flashback (Tapit-Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley) Bob Baffert – Zazu's little brother can run. I'm not crazy about having two such inexperienced colts so high on my list, but I guess that is a sign of the times. Juvenile races have become less important, and many of the real stars of the spring do not begin their careers until after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. This one has been nothing but impressive in his two starts and certainly looks like the most likely Californian to be in the Kentucky Derby starting gate at this point. Continued improvement makes him a real threat in Louisville for Gary and Mary West.  [10 points]
4. Uncaptured (Lion Heart-Captivating, by Arch) Mark Casse - Another one getting a late start in 2013, but at least we know the plan with this one. And an intersting plan it is, as trainer, Mark Casse plans to keep him on synthetics up to the Derby, with likely runs in the Rushaway and the Blue Grass. The good news is that the five-time stakes winner is already 2-for-2 over the Churchill Downs main track, and has the proven class, of, well ... a five-time stakes winner. [10 points]
5. Revolutionary (War Pass-Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy) Todd Pletcher – Is he a horse with serious issues breaking from the gate, while running in the minor leagues? Or, is he one of the most exciting prospects of the crop who flashed his potential when winning the Withers against all odds. I lean more towards the latter, but I need to see more, as we all know breaking bad in the Derby is almost certain defeat. I also can't say enough about the class that he inherits from a fantastic female side of the pedigree. [10 points]

6. Violence (Medaglia d'Oro -Violent Beauty, by Gone West) Todd Pletcher – All of a sudden he is one of the more forgotten horses from the star-studded barn of Todd Pletcher. That could all change, though, in a few weeks with the running of the Fountain of Youth Stakes. As stated before, he did absolutely nothing wrong in his three starts as a juvenile and looks the part of a classy individual that will be able to carry over his class not only from two to three, but also as the distances increase. [10 points] 

7. 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. [0 points] 

8. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron-Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court) Edward Plesa - A dark horse no more, Itsmyluckyday showed his ability with a strong run in the Holy Bull to defeat the previously unbeaten, Juvenile Champion, Shanghai Bobby. He continues to remind me of his sire, Lawyer Ron, who also got very good at this point in his career. I never thought that his best distance was ten furlongs, though, and I fear this one may run into the same stumbling block. [10 points]
9. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan's Holiday-Steelin', by Orientate) Todd Pletcher - The two-year-old champion finally tasted defeat in the Holy Bull. The good news is that he ran a very good race that should set him up well to progress for the Florida Derby in March. Unfortunately his performance did nothing to dispel my worry that ten furlongs on the first Saturday in May will be a little beyond his comfort zone. [24 points] 

10. 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. [4 points]

11. Fury Kapcori (Tiznow-Gin Running, by Go For Gin) Jerry Hollendorfer– A little setback this time of year is never a good thing, but hopefully that is all it will be. I really liked his runner-up in the CashCall Futurity. In that race, 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. [4 points] 

12. Proud Strike (Smart Strike-Colonella, by Pleasant Colony) Steve Asmussen - Has all the look a classic late developing colt that will flourish at a distance. The fact that he lost twice already to Bradester means next to nothing to me. In his recent maiden win at Fair Grounds he loooked the part of his superior breeding, his female family is class from top to bottom, and of a horse that is developing quickly into stakes quality. Asmussen came close a few years ago with Nehro, and there's no doubt in my mind that this one is farther along than Nehro was at the same point. [0 points]
13. Goldencents (Into Mischief-Golden Works, by Banker's Gold) Doug O'Neill – I like the fact that he demonstrated a new dimension by coming from slightly off the pace to run by the leader in the Sham, but on the other hand, he was not overly impressive in the win. Still the race was only a prep, and learning experience for the future. He has done absolutely nothing wrong in four solid races and remains the 2012 Kentucky Derby winning trainer's best hope to repeat. [24 points]
14. Overanalyze (Dixie Union-Unacloud, by Unaccounted For) Todd Pletcher – Demonstrated plenty of courage in winning the Futurity from the clouds and then on the battle back in the Remsen, but was no match for Uncaptured in his one trip over the Churchill Downs strip. As one of many in the Pletcher armada, look for him to avoid some of the others by taking the New York route of Gotham and Wood Memorial to see if he earns his ticket back to Louisville. [10 points] 
15. Frac Daddy   (Scat Daddy-Skipper's Mate, by Skip Away) Ken McPeek - I saw a picture of his hoof after the Holy Bull, and it was not pretty. Something like this can heal quickly, though, and it will need to if he is going to be a factor in Louisville. I still remember his strong outings in Louisville last fall, so I'm willing to give him a second chance, but he will have to come back with a strong rebound race in order for me to consider him a real player on Derby Day, let alone to even qualify for the field. [4 points]

16. Oxbow (Awesome Again-Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy) D. Wayne Lukas – What's going on here? D. Wayne Lukas is winning stakes races like they're going out of style. This speedy colt cracks the Sweet 16 after romping home in the Lecomte in New Orleans. He's bred to go the distance, has a win over the Churchill strip, and is improving at the right time. The Lecomte did not strike me as much on quality, though, so things will get much tougher from here on in. But I will never say never where Lukas is concerned. [11 points]


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Older Comments about 2013 Kentucky Derby: The Shakeup Sweet 16...

hey brian can you somehow update this top 50 half of them are not even derby caliber horses i know its hard but maybe you can update the horses that are not pointing to the derby thank you
At this stage several speculations comes about derby,s best, but final selections for first 6 wiil be selected after all derby preps have done, lot of variables have to be taken in to considerations without any bias thinking and put a right judgement in a wised possible way in selection process.
Unitl this Bobby colt really hits a wall, his upper end distance limitations are unknown....Running versus a track record performance is not a bad perfromance.
what a late kick by Normandy Invasion? he can not be left out in the derby selection list! wow!
hey intothefray if Bobby never stood out to u maybe u should think of another sport to follow he only beat everyone he faced on dfferent tracks and was 2 year old champ but im sure some of the ones he beat stood out to u...jac..ss
Solid list Zip! Wouldn't it be a great story for Ramon to come back in time for the Derby, retain the mount on Revolutionary & win the roses?!
To be honest, Shanghai Bobby never stood out to me and I never loved him.
With the overall dominance of speed types bred today, that historical trend will be less of a factor as more and more distance contests are won by simply getting close to the pace and "surviving" not actually overcoming the pace. Third fractions are getting slower not faster.
MANY babies do not have the seasoning in May, but show us MORE of their POTENTIAL after 3 more months of maturation in the Travers: Holy Bull, Chief's Crown, Forty Niner and several others.
curlin didn't win the derby, but proved distance later on. so i like verrazano, violence. it's my lucky day and uncaptured.
Verrazano is also in my list for Derby!
Yep, definitely not a good thing in the derby. Very hard to get from last to first. Like I said, I'd love to see him try turf
That's not a good thing come derby time.
Pletcher said that Revolutionary's bad breaks from the gate are not a matter of bad luck, but rather the way that he is. So don't expect the slow starts to change.
You got that right about Revolutionary's pedigree, Brian. Very classy indeed. The dam side has extreme class. I spent an hour looking at pedigrees, and I must say his impressed me the most.
Definitely Oxbow, but I like Whiskey Romeo, High Five Again and Revolutionary. It is so early so a couple of these are long shots.
Nice list Brian... I'm sure the KY Derby Future Wager Pool #1 will have the majority of these but the contrarian that I am, of these 16, I'll only have (maybe) 6 of them on my soon-to-be-released "GQ Derby Double Dozen" list.
Regarding REVOLTIONARY, he has enjoyed the services of three of the sport’s best riders — John Velazquez, Ramon Dominguez and Javier Castellano — so he should have the services of a top jockey should he advance to the spring classics
No Falling Sky? Tsk tsk. At least my guy Proud Strike is on your list ;-)

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