Across the Board: Davidowitz's Top 10 2-year-olds of 2018

As we approach the New Year, it is this precise time of the season when I like to take a good look at 2-year-olds who show signs of classic talent moving toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail.

Here, I've evaluated the legitimacy of this past season’s juvenile crop for the key prep races that will occur in the coming months, and I expect their respective trainers to do the same. 

In that regard, here is my personal list of top 2-year-olds of 2018 that I will be watching closely as we head into next year:

1. Game Winner: Scored in multiple Grade 1 stakes, including the rich Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, like a genuine champion.

2. 
Coliseum: With the Top 3, including this one, trainer Bob Baffert has a dominant hand. This Tapit colt should continue developing.

3.
 Improbable: Was a strong winner of a Churchill Downs stakes that always produces Derby runners and should improve at longer than a mile.

4. 
Knicks Go: Scored at juicy odds before off the board in the Kentucky Jockey Club. He'll be back.

5. 
Complexity: Does this Grade 1 winner deserve another chance as the distances lengthen? I think so.

6. 
Signalman: Improved noticeably in his latest race, and horses who do that toward the end of their 2-year-old campaigns deserve extra attention. 

7. 
Vekoma: As with most of the young horses on this list, Vekoma has hinted at stronger potential when he stretches out in distance.   

8. 
Code of Honor: Raced with energy in reserve and has a bright future in races beyond a mile.

9.
Bulletin: The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner surely has talent, but might prefer to remain in one-turn races.

10. 
Maximus Mischief: Hinted at his chance to develop quickly with dominant victories at Parx. Gets his next test in Saturday's Remsen.

What about the ladies?

I also believe that the following three fillies, if raced against males, have performed as if they should not be dismissed:

 Jaywalk: Scored a convincing win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

 Newspaperofrecord: Looks like Chad Brown's next dominant grass runner.

 Restless Rider: Always gives a good account of herself.

Other names to know

Horse Racing Nation editor Jonathan Lintner provided this short list of 2-year-olds who haven't hit stakes company, but are worth watching for: Epic Dreamer, Fortin Hill, Looking at Bikinis, Mihos and Super Steed. Plus, we'd be remiss not to mention Instagrand, who was scintillating at shorter distances but hasn't raced since August.

A pick to consider

In addition to the nearly 20 young horses to watch on the national stage, I’m adding a selection to this column that occurs in Saturday's fifth race at Del Mar.
 

This is a 2-year-old maiden race at one mile on the infield turf course. While #1
 Mobou has run well enough to be favored, I will only use him in exactas with my preferred selection #8 Unusual Angel.

Unusual Angel hesitated leaving the gate in both of his starts to date. Seems eligible for improvement in that area and, if he does, he should be right there at the finish line. And as previously stated I will also combine Unusual Angel in an Exacta box with Mobou, who may go to the post as the betting favorite.

 

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