Tuesday, February 3, 2015

141st Kentucky Derby Top 20 List

With the Kentucky Derby just 88 days away, the list of horses injured and off of the Triple Crown trail has begun to grow. Just last week Calculator (#8), Leave the Light On (#11), and the talented sprinter Barbados have been ruled out of Triple Crown contention because of various injuries.

In the Kentucky Derby prep races last week the lightly raced Ocean Knight remained undefeated in a gutsy victory in the Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs and Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (#1) made a strong return to the races finishing second in the 7F San Vicente Stakes (GII) to Lord Nelson at San Anita Park.

This coming week features two prep races both worth 10 points to the winner, the GIII Withers Stakes at Aqueduct and the GII Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita which features Dortmund and Firing Line.  Read below to find out my Kentucky Derby Top 20 list.

#1. Texas Red- This big colt by Afleet Alex made his 2015 debut last week sprinting at Santa Anita in the GII San Vicente Stakes, and ended up a very impressive second. Although he did not win his performance off the layoff and not at his optimal distance only strengthened his resume as the #1 horse going forward.

#2. Imperia- The only development since last week regarding this colt is top jockey Mike Smith will climb aboard this colt in the GII Risen Star Stakes (2/21) at the Fair Grounds when Imperia makes his 2015 debut.

#3. Upstart- This Rick Violette trainee ran a monster Beyer Speed Figure number of 105 in his GII Holy Bull win, but he seems to have come out of the race well, and if he improves off that effort he is very dangerous down the road.

#4. Dortmund-  This Bob Baffert trainee make his 2015 debut Saturday in the GII Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and coming off a narrow win at Los Alamitos, where many blamed the tight turns on the close margin of victory, it will be interesting to see how he fairs back at Santa Anita.

#5. American Pharaoh- Another colt trained by Bob Baffert, I have moved American Pharaoh to #5 because in the last week he has returned to the work tab. This could be the most talented colt of his generation, and if everything continues to go well, he will continue to rise.

#6. Frosted- I still believe Frosted is a colt, and he should grow with every start. In his last two starts there have still been signs of him being green, and with a more mature performance he could really put all the pieces together.

#7. Carpe Diem- This is a really nice colt that had a very tough time of it in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and he actually rallied to defeat Upstart in there. He should only improve with the distance, and a better trip.

#8. Prospect Park- Not even in the Top 20 last week, Prospect Park earned his way onto the list with a very impressive allowance score last week at Santa Anita. He defeated some promising colts and did it nicely, he is expected to try tougher company next time out.

#9. El Kabeir- He is the big name in this week's Withers Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct and should be a pretty heavy favorite. He has matured significantly in his last two starts and it will be interesting if that upward trend continues on Saturday.

#10 Firing Line- He takes on Dortmund Saturday and with an a strong effort could find himself much higher on the list, but for now I want to see another strong effort like the one at Los Alamitos last out.

11. Ocean Knight
12. Competitive Edge
13. International Star
14. Lord Nelson
15. Daredevil
16. Divining Rod
17. Far Right
18. Tiznow R J
19. Ocho Ocho Ocho
20. J S Bach