(Rank; Horse; HRI Rating; Equiform: Last Figure/Top Next Start)
1. Big Brown 139 79½T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Still the HRI consensus favorite, trainer Rick Dutrow continues to pinch himself. The colt’s problematic hooves are good now and his training continues on schedule. Big Brown had his second five-furlong maintenance work last week since the Florida Derby, 1:00 2/5 on Friday, termed breezing. Considering his inexperience and light work schedule, he must get an awful lot from his gallops.
2. Colonel John 133 75½T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Again, the consensus second choice. Eoin Harty continues to tighten the screws, the colt having his second work since the Santa Anita Derby, a strong :59 2/5, also breezing, on Sunday. California shippers into the Arkansas Derby finished first, third and fourth. Another, Behindatthebar, won Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington, albeit on Polytrack. Point is they’re winning in Midwestern venues.
3. Pyro 128 70/77T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Blue Grass still a source of confusion with less than two weeks remaining. The non-effort means that Steve Asmussen will have to train him rigorously and he has promised a company workout for the Risen Star/Louisiana Derby winner. It had better be a good one for him to have any chance.
4. Tale Of Ekati 121 74½/75*T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: He won the Wood off limited conditioning and loses his winning jockey, recently elected Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, to Adriano. Doesn’t lose much in terms of familiarity since replacement Eibar Coa is 2-for-3 lifetime on the colt. Had maintenance half-mile breeze in :49 1/5 last Thursday.
4. Monba 121 75¼T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Todd Pletcher was down to one bullet to get this colt Derby eligible and he hit a bull’s-eye in the Blue Grass. Prado opted off this winner, too, and, even though Rene Douglas was undefeated in two rides, barn opted for Ramon Dominguez for the Derby, his first on the colt. The “now horse” will try to make his second successful transition from Keeneland to Churchill.
6. Gayego 117 77½ T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Peaking at the right time. Earned a lifetime best performance figure winning the Arkansas Derby and distributed his energy efficiently. His top was not demonstrably faster than he earned sprinting previously. Helped by defection of War Pass but still appears to be between a rock and a hard pace.
7. Adriano 116 75 Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: After Edgar Prado’s test drive on a cuppy Churchill Downs surface last weekend, trainer Graham Motion was convinced his colt belonged in the Derby. A day later, Prado agreed, opting off the Wood and Blue Grass winners. Breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 Sunday, his second work since winning the Lane’s End.
8. Court Vision 115 73¾T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Underscoring his preference for Churchill Downs, the surface on which he earned his best performance figure as a two-year-old, he flew a half-mile in :46 1/5, termed breezing, last Thursday. Trainer Bill Mott doesn’t work horses fast and is not a huge blinkers guy: This work was fast and the blinkers will stay on for the race. After pairing modest tops, he’s poised for a huge forward move.
9. Z. Fortune 114 77¼T Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Consistent New York-bred with three victories and two seconds in six starts, his last was his best effort to date and that could be problematical. The race was a huge forward move and he’ll be back on relatively short rest, three weeks. Has good tactical speed to match his late kick and benefits from Robbie Albarado’s gaining familiarity with him in Arkansas.
10. Cowboy Cal 110 75¼/75½T[turf] Kentucky Derby 5/3
Commentary: Made a fairly seamless transition from turf to Polytrack in the Blue Grass but, like Adriano, must try dirt for the first time in Louisville. By Giant’s Causeway, there’s no reason to think he won’t take to it, but the Derby presents a unique set of problems. The race shape won’t favor his style, even with War Pass on the sidelines.
*=Equiform sprint figure
T=Equiform Lifetime Top
/=Most Recent Equiform Figure/Lifetime Top
Trainer Shug McGaughey is still thinking Belmont Stakes for his Kentucky Derby winner after Orb galloped a mile Thursday morning at Belmont Park.
Jon Siegel & Joel Cunningham recap an exciting Preakness Stakes and review the breakout performance by Oxbow. The colt remains in the TCI Top 4 after final Derby preparations, despite his poor Arkansas Derby showing.