36,317 horses were born in 2007. Today, all are now considered 3 year olds, the year in which only one could potentially break the 30 year Triple Crown drought, by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Approximately 30% of horses foaled make it to the race track. That’s roughly 11,000 horses. On January 16th, only 366 were nominated to the Triple Crown series of races. Among that number are 8 fillies and 17 foreign-based runners.
Over the next few months the best 20 will surface, earning their way into the starting gate on May 1st to run in the 136th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands. This weekend Churchill Downs is offering the first of three Future Wager Pools for the May 1 Kentucky Derby.
The dates for the Derby Future Wager are:
–Pool 1: Feb. 12-14
–Pool 2: March 5-7
–Pool 3: March 26-28
This is the 12th year for the Derby Future Wager. Betting for each pool will open at noon (ET) daily; the Derby pools will close at 6 p.m. on the final day of each pool. The pool will consist of 24 wagering interests – 23 individual horses and a mutuel field of all others as the 24th wagering option. The Derby mutuel field includes all other 3-year-olds. Each bet is WIN only and is a $2 minimum. There are no refunds on the future wagers.
In keeping with my (not so long) tradition, the time has come to reveal the 2010 GQ Derby Double Dozen. Here are my Top 24 colts and geldings (sorry ladies, no fillies) that I humbly believe have the best shot of getting to Louisville on the first Saturday in May and breaking out of the starting gate at approximately 6:20pm (EDT). Following the horse name is the trainer, current jockey and facts/comments. On my 2008 list, Derby winner Big Brown was my #2 and last year my #1 was Derby runner-up Pioneerof The Nile… no one had Mine That Bird anywhere on their radar last February, March or April.
#1 – Ron The Greek (T. Amoss/J. Graham) Has gotten better as he’s stepped up each race to face better foes. Exhibits an astonishing closing kick; his late fractions in Gr.3 LeComte Stakes (1 mile 40 yds @ FG; Jan. 23) victory were insane. Obvious next steps are Gr.2 Risen Star (1 1/16 mile @ FG; Feb. 20), then Gr.1 Louisiana Derby (1 1/8 mile @ FG; Mar. 27). FL-bred has a ton of upside.
#2 – Lookin At Lucky (B. Baffert/G. Gomez) Adds Blinkers after win in CashCall Futurity, will likely have ONLY two preps for the May 1st KY Derby, beginning with the Gr.2 San Felipe (1 1/16 mile @ SA; Mar. 13). “I think he just needs two,” Baffert said. Needs to try natural dirt, but staying at Santa Anita (synthetic) for San Felipe and SA Derby (1 1/8 mile; Apr.3). 2009 Eclipse Award winning 2 year old Colt of the Year.
#3 – Buddy’s Saint (B. Levine/J. Lezcano) Easy 4 length winner of Gr.2 Remsen (Nov.’09) over 5, questionably talented foes, but nice stalking trip, jock never touched him w/ whip; stock rose when runner-up Peppi Knows cameback to win Whirlaway (AQU; Feb. 6th); Fountain of Youth (1 mile @ GP; Feb. 20th) up next.
#4 – Dublin (D.W.Lukas/T. Thompson) Won Gr.1 Hopeful at Saratoga at 2; 7th by 10 as 3-5 in Gr. 3 Iroquis (CD; Nov. 1) when he entrapped his epiglottis during the race; prepping for Southwest (OP; Feb.15th); this son of Afleet Alex wants more distance.
#5 – Dave In Dixie (J. Sadler/J. Rosario) Starter in Gr. 2 Robert E. Lewis (1 1/16 mile @ SA; Feb. 13th); 6th in Gr. 1 Norfolk while closing to finish just 2 1/2 lengths behind 2 year old colt of the year Lookin At Lucky.
#6 – Awesome Act (J. Noseada/R. Moore) Fast-closing 4th in BC Juvenile Turf; Been training across the pond; Triple Crown (TC) nominated due to encouragement of trainer who believes colt can run on dirt (out of BC Classic winner Awesome Again); Will run in allowance race in England; if he runs well, he’ll ship to US for Gr.2 Gotham (1 1/16 mile @ AQU; Mar. 6th) then Gr.1 Wood Memorial (1 1/8 mile @ AQU; Apr. 3) or back on synthetic oval in Gr.1 Blue Grass (1 1/8 mile @ KEE; Apr. 10).
#7 – American Lion (E. Harty/J. Leparoux) 2 for 2 in career includes Hollywood Prevue stakes; will make 3 yr old debut in Gr.2 Robert B. Lewis (1 1/16 mile @ SA; Feb. 13th); Lots of buzz around this one…early “Wise-Guy” horse for Kentucky Derby?
#8 – Drosselmeyer (W. Mott / K.Desormeaux) Took care of business in first level allowance (1 1/8 mile @ GP; Jan. 31) as 4-5 favorite after breaking maiden by 6 at CD in Nov.; taking same route as Dunkirk did last year?
#9 – Vale of York (IRE) (bin Suroor/A.Ajtebi) 2009 BC Juvenile winner at 30-1 on SA synthetic surface; taking Road to the Derby via Dubai which has never yielded a Kentucky Derby winner. There’s a first time for everything, right?!
#10 – Super Saver (T. Pletcher/C.Borel) Front-running winner of the Gr.2 Kentucky Jockey Club (1 1/16 mile @ CD, Nov. 28); Looking at stakes races at Tampa Downs, Fairgrounds, Gulfstream, Oaklawn and Aqueduct for 2010 debut in March?! Son of A.P. Indy who has never had an offspring win the Kentucky Derby.
#11 – Noble’s Promise (K. McPeek/R. Bejarano) Runner-up in CashCall Futurity behind Lookin At Lucky in most recent effort; pedigree doesn’t have classic distance stamina (Cuvee out of Clever Trick mare); training at GP but skipping Fountain of Youth? Not a good sign when trainer wanted 2 races prior to KY Derby. All 6 races have been on turf or synthetic. Has enough earnings to get in Derby.
#12 – Tiz Chrome (B. Baffert/G. Gomez) Undefeated in 2 sprints; one on dirt (CD) and other on synthetic (SA); makes 2010 debut in Robert B. Lewis (1 1/16 mile @ SA; Feb. 13th).
#13 – Letsgetitonmon (S. Asmussen/S. Bridgmohan) Strong finish to be 3rd in Gr.3 LeComte (1mile @ FG; Jan.23); room to improve with more distance. Assuming Gr. 2 Risen Star (1 1/16 mile @ FG; Feb.20) is next on his schedule.
#14 – Hawaiian Springs (K. Walsh/J. Talamo) Staged furious rally to win career debut; then didn’t have the cleanest of trips, rallying from last to finish second in a strong 1 1/16-mile allowance race at SA, finishing ahead of two highly promising Baffert colts (Quiet Invader and The Program). No indication what’s next for him, but the longer the better.
#15 – Conveyance (B. Baffert/G. Gomez) Perfect 3 for 3 record; Won stakes debut stakes debut as 3-10 choice in the one mile Gr. 3 San Rafael at SA (Jan. 16) in gate-to-wire fashion, but in slow fractions after a smashing 7 length allowance score in his 2nd lifetime start. Wants/needs to be on the lead; Not certain he’ll go Derby distance on the lead. Could ship to OP for Southwest (Feb. 15)?
#16 – William’s Kitten (M. Maker/J. Leparoux) Stamped himself a contender w/ strong 3rd place finish in Gr.3 Holy Bull (1 mile @ GP; Jan. 23) at 12-1; should appreciate more distance in future Derby preps, but no commitment on next race.
#17 – Lost Aptitude (D. Romans/J. Court) Goes in the Gr.2 Fountain of Youth (Feb. 20). Has won 3 of his last 4 starts, including the Grand Canyon at CD on turf to conclude his 2-year-old campaign, but was beaten as the odds-on favorite by Fly by Phil in the Gr.3 Tropical Park Derby over a boggy grass course at Calder on New Year’s Day.
#18 – Maximus Ruler (C. Hanna/F. Torres) Taking FG route to KY Derby; game 2nd in Gr.3 Lecomte S. (Jan.23) when caught by monster-closer Ron The Greek; Derby distance may be asking too much but a player in future races. Should be a stalker.
#19 – Peppi Knows (T. Kreiser/R. Migliore) Gelding won Whirlaway (by default?) when 1-5 favorite, Eightyfiveinafifty, bolted early in race, leaving it a 4 horse race. Was runner-up to Buddy’s Saint in Gr.2 Remsen prior to that. Workouts at Penn National, broke maiden at Finger Lakes…would be a Derby Cinderella story. Next test will be the Gr.2 Gotham (1 1/16 mile @ AQU; Mar. 6).
#20 – Connemara (T. Pletcher/R.Baze) Won his debut at Turfway Park and allowance race at Santa Anita, both going two turns, then was beaten 3-5 fav. in California Derby (Jan.16) after slow start, winner went gate-to-wire in slow fractions; likes distance.
#21 – Uptowncharlybrown (A. Seewald/D. Centeno) 2 for 2 while facing light weights at Tampa Downs; next race is Gr. 3 Sam Davis Stakes (1 1/16 mile @ TB; Feb. 13).
#22 – Rule (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) Winner of the Gr.3 Delta Jackpot; these rarely make it to Derby but next start will be either the Gr.3 Sam Davis (1 1/16 mile @ TB; Feb. 13) or Gr.2 Risen Star (1 1/16 mile @ FG; Feb. 20).
#23 – Lentenor (M. Matz/J. Velazquez) Barabaro‘s full-brother taking same route as Bro by braking maiden on turf at GP? First level allowance race at GP on Feb. 17th is next up; if he wins, trainer would give him an opportunity in one of the classic Derby prep races, likely the FL Derby (1 1/8 mile @ GP; Feb. 20).
#24 – Tempted To Tapit (S.Klesaris / D. Cohen) Pointing to Gr.3 Sam F. Davis (1 1/16 mile @ TB; Feb. 13); impressive maiden win on Jan. 18 in 4th try at AQU for 3 yr olds & up.
In addition to these 24, here are another “Baker’s Dozen” who you might here from over the next couple months…Eskendereya, Caracortado, Dryfly, Jackson Bend, Positive Split, Concord Point, Pulsion, Fly By Phil, Twirling Candy, Pleasant Storm, Sidney’s Candy, Uh Oh Bango and Eightyfiveinafifty.
Enjoy the thrill of thoroughbred horse racing, not only over the next few months, but all year long!