Monday, April 17, 2017
Top Derby Five
We are, indeed, getting closer to Derby. With the final prep races in the books now...let's take a look on how they affect our previous Derby rankings.
1) ALWAYS DREAMING. I am still big on this Todd Pletcher runner and the way he won the Florida Derby. He's seventh in total points earned.
2) GIRVIN. Winner of the Louisiana Derby, Girvin turned in quite a performance that day and holds a great local interest with trainer Joe Sharp. He's also atop the points earned list.
3) CLASSIC EMPIRE. I was waiting for the Arkansas Derby to see how he would run and he got to the wire just in time with a nice closing move down the stretch. Mark Casse will have him raring to go and the horse loves Churchill.
4) IRISH WAR CRY. He won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Graham Motion is one of the best in the business at getting them ready.
5) MCCRACKEN. "Mac" drops a little from my previous rankings but I'm still not ready to give up on him. He needed the Bluegrass and finished third. Recent works indicate he's happy to be back at Churchill and he's another great local story with trainer Ian Wilkes.
Here more on these at this link:
DERBY CONTENDERS 4/17/17
ARCHIE has complied an updated list on his top five:
1) GUNNERVERA. Archie is high on this runner bouncing back from his third-place finish in the Florida Derrby. The horse has shown "bounce" trend in his career...good race, bad race.
2) CLASSIC EMPIRE: His win in the Arkansas Derby was enough to move him up in Archie's rankings. That long Churchill stretch and coming back to a track he loves can't hurt, right?
3) McCRACKEN. Another that could improve now that he has a race under his belt. The home track angle applies here...he's happy to be back home and the workouts are showing that.
4) TAPWRIT. Didn't fire so well in the Blue Grass Stakes (5th.) but comes out of the Todd Pletcher barn and should be respected.
5) ALWAYS DREAMING. The Florida Derby win was huge. Can he pull off that kind of performance in Kentucky?
SCOTT offers these as his top six currently. We'll let him toss in an extra...he's been working hard.
1) CLASSIC EMPIRE. In addition to the discussion above, this one was the 2-year old champion last year and did show he can go wide and still make up ground.
2) GIRVIN. Worked four furlongs in 47.8 over at Trackside Training Facility a few days ago with Rosie Napravnik on board. A bit fast than Joe Sharp wanted but he cooled out just fine.
3) ALWAYS DREAMING. Is at Palm Beach Downs in Florida where he recorded a 49.55 for four furlongs work. Johnny Velazquez on board. Unsure if final work will be there or at Churchill.
4) McCRAKEN. He's three for three lifetime at Churchill Downs....including the win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
5) STATE OF HONOR. Is the second place finish in the Florida Derby good enough to get him to the wire first. He'll need to stay on top for a longer time and longer stretch.
6) CONQUEST MO MONEY. The surprise second place finisher in the Arkansas Derby would need to be supplemented for $200,000 to run in the Derby. He earned $200,000 for his place last out.