Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher
Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch
For raw talent, he stands above the others. He has the potential to be a superstar if he can keep showing that same brilliance at nine and 10 furlongs. He has enough stamina to suggest that won’t be as much of a problem as some think. Exceptional talent can take you a long way on the First Saturday in May. By then, Mike Repole and Uncle Mo will be as well-known a pair as Roy Rogers and Trigger.
To Honor and Serve Bill Mott
Bernardini—Pilfer, by Deputy Minister
As of now, it looks like the Fountain of Youth will be his first start. Not easy going 1 1/8 miles off a three-month layoff, but he’s already won at the distance. His Remsen was more workmanlike than his previous scores. Super pedigree and another good-looking colt with a ton of ability. But there’s isn’t much going on with him right now.
Tapizar Steve Asmussen
Tapit—Winning Call, by Deputy Minister
After so-so start to his career (he lost his rider in one race), he became an overnight sensation with two monster efforts. In his maiden win he ran over a full second faster than the Kentucky. Jockey Club Stakes the race before, and his Sham score was over a full second faster than the San Fernando for older horses on the same day. Beautiful mover with great cruising speed and love the way he runs with his ears up. Watch his powerful gallop-out in the Sham. He seems to do everything like a pro.
Dialed In Nick Zito
Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat
The Zito--Bob LaPenta team is back yet again on the Derby trail, but this time with a colt who may be the best they’ve ever had. For him to win the Holy Bull the way he did off only one maiden sprint, he must be pretty special. And he did it with final fractions of :23 3/5 and :24 flat, despite not changing leads until the sixteenth pole. What was most impressive was the way he dropped his head and leveled off after changing leads, unveiling a big, beautiful stride that covers a lot of ground.
Stay Thirsty Todd Petcher
Bernardini—Marozia, by Storm Bird
Still not giving up on him, despite his antics in the BC Juvenile when he ducked in badly from a right-hand whip after turning for home. Believe he was short for that race, not having run since the Hopeful and never being farther than seven furlongs. Amazing pedigree; he just needs to mature and stretch out in distance. He’ll be in Uncle Mo’s shadow all winter.
Jaycito Bob Baffert
Victory Gallop—Night Edition, by Ascot Knight
Bob Baffert is on the Derby trail with a son of the horse who deprived him of the Triple Crown by a nose. You gotta love it. After taking over his training following the colt’s Breeders’ Cup fiasco, Baffert has had to overcome some issues with him, but he’s reportedly doing great now. Robert Lewis Stakes looks to be his next start.
Astrology Steve Asmussen
A.P. Indy—Quiet Eclipse, by Quiet American
Big, handsome, long-striding colt. Despite Iroquois score and Kentucky Jockey Club second, expect huge improvement when he returns, which likely will be the San Felipe. Plenty of 2-year-old foundation, so he won’t need much. Ignore his slow Beyer figure in the Kentucky Jockey Club; he’s much better than that and his speed figs will improve dramatically this year.
Boys at Tosconova Rick Dutrow
Officer—Little Bonnet, by Coronado’s Quest
If Uncle Mo wasn’t in the BC Juvenile, he wins by six, his time is a full second and a fifth faster than the BC Juvenile Fillies, and everyone is raving about him. The big question is: how far his talent will carry him. Withdrawn from the Holy Bull because Dutrow didn’t like his energy level. That has to raise a few eyebrows, but Dutrow feels this was not a setback. He’s probably better than #8, despite pedigree questions, but we’ll have to wait to find out.
Soldat Kiaran McLaughlin
War Front—Le Relais, by Coronado’s Quest
Lots of speed top and bottom, but he’s already run off the screen going 1 1/8 miles. He’s proven himself on grass and slop, and now must show what he can do on a fast dirt track. It’s hard not to like his last race, slop or no slop. He was hooked by a promising colt, ran him into the ground, and then just spread-eagled his field in the stretch.
Comma to the Top Peter Miller
Bwana Charlie—Maggies Storm, by Stormy Atlantic
Don’t know how far he wants to go or how he’ll handle dirt, but any 2-year-old who can win five in a row, including three stakes and a grade I, has to be respected. He was all speed, but did sit just off the pace in CashCall Futurity. Not bad for a $40,000 claimer.
Brethren Todd Pletcher
Distorted Humor—Supercharger, by A.P. Indy
Half-brother to last year’s Derby winner Super Saver, he’s won both his starts, and several of his beaten foes have come back to win or run well. He’s already shown a big kick from off the pace as well as stalking speed.
Santiva Eddie Kenneally
Giant’s Causeway—Slide, by Smarten
His record is impressive on paper and he has the pedigree, although his Beyer numbers are very slow. Whatever ability he has is obscured by the weird goings on between his owner and his (too many) trainers. Not a healthy situation and that has to change. If Kenneally is given a free rein with him he’s got a chance to make it to Churchill.
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