A Derby Dozen
A DERBY DOZEN
1 Uncle Mo
Pletcher got a bit more than he expected when the Derby favorite breezed a half in :47 2/5 in his third work back. Pletcher was looking for :48 and change, but what's a second here or there when you're dealing with a gifted colt? The Tampa Bay Derby is his likely target, but with Brethren's obvious love of Tampa, who knows?
2 To Honor and Serve
His 1:00 4/5 five-furlong work last week was exceptional for the deep Payson Park track. Although he'll have to debut going a mile and an eighth off a layoff, he has plenty of foundation and will be sharp, judging from that work.
3 Dialed In
Moves up into the third spot vacated by the self-destructing Tapizar, who shouldn't be totally dismissed quite yet. This colt bounced out of the Holy Bull in good shape, breezing a half in :48 4/5 in his first work back.
4 Stay Thirsty
Uncle Mo's half-mile work got all the press, but, as usual, no one said anything about this guy's identical work in :47 2/5. Giving him a slight nod over stablemate Brethren only because he's faced far better competition. Still believe he could be Pletcher's silent weapon.
Remained undefeated with dominating score in the Sam F. Davis. His performance was visually impressive, but he beat a pair of 30-1 shots and the runner-up is a former $16,000 claimer. He also had a dream trip, tracking a 53-1 shot, and none of the contenders made an impact. He's gaining maturity with every start, and this was by far his most professional effort. No doubt he's an outstanding colt, but next race will tell more about him.
Baffert wasn't able to get an allowance race to go and now is forced to sprint him first time out in the San Vicente – same path he took with Silver Charm. He's razor-sharp – 5f in :59 2/5, 7f in 1:25 1/5, and 5f in :59 1/5. Baffrert is always eligible to change his mind, and he'll have to decide whether he wants him tackling The Factor going seven furlongs. Even a good second or third would be a big first step, considering his wacky performance in his only dirt start.
There is no arguing that his speed figures last year were slow and that he simply might not be fast enough to compete with the leading contenders. But the word is he had issues last year that have been resolved. The positive is that he won and placed in major stakes despite those issues and big improvement is expected. He's had two half-mile breezes.
Breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 in preparation for the Fountain of Youth. If he runs on a fast dirt track like he has on grass and in slop he has to move up to the Top 5. His pedigree is an enigma, but he has class and ability. And he has shown excellent tactical speed.
9 Rogue Romance
He is another who will move way up if he wins or runs big in his next start, which will be the Risen Star. His wide move in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which he finished third, indicates he should appreciate that long Fair Grounds stretch. McPeek also has Casper's Touch in the barn, and he should have a say in the Fountain of Youth.
He's had several excellent works at Palm Meadows, including five-furlong breezes in 1:00 2/5 and 1:00 3/5. Kenneally has had his share of fast horses, so he knows how to get them sharp. He is another who needs to get faster.
Boy was that ugly. A leading Derby contender is not supposed to self destruct like that, especially at 1-5, and we have no idea what was going on in his head. He was a goner by the time he got to the paddock. He actually did fairly well to still be right there at the eighth pole. Didn't like the slow final fractions, so this race has major question marks. He's too good a horse to drop completely, at least for now. But they've got to figure out what went wrong...and then correct it.
12 Mucho Macho Man
Decided to put him back on despite his fourth in the Holy Bull. He was way too sharp for that race and was stuck between horses. He needs to settle better and run like he did when second to To Honor and Serve in the Remsen. If his five-furlong breeze in 1:04 1/5 doesn't help slow him down early nothing will.
12 Toby's Corner
Can't separate the bottom two. Watched all three of his wins and was impressed with everything about this colt. He breaks sharply, settles off the pace, and then consistently launches a big run with a smooth efficient stride. He handles any kind of surface and just has a look of class about him. This last spot was tough to fill, with several others bunched together. Very impressed with Bowman's Causeway this past weekend.
by Steve Haskin
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