Revolutionary Todd Pletcher
War Pass—Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy
Gave him the work of the day on April 27 when 10 Derby horses worked. Just love the way this colt finishes and gallops out. Borel kept him right on the rail as usual, and although he again switched leads three times in the final furlong, he still flew home in :11 3/5 and galloped out some seven lengths ahead of Charming Kitten.
Orb Shug McGaughey
Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled
I could easily have made him No. 1 based on how he has flourished at Churchill Downs and how he has continued to look and do better by the day. His gallops have been smooth as silk, and his demeanor has been of a colt who is sitting on the race of his life. McGaughey is extremely confident and that’s good enough for anyone.
Verrazano Todd Pletcher
More Than Ready—Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway
If you’re going strictly by looks, he is a standout. A big, strong, handsome colt, he dwarfs those around him and exudes class. His work April 27 was excellent and I like the way he traveled through the stretch and how he galloped out. The big question is where he’s going to be placed and what kind of pace pressure he’s going to face.
Overanalyze Todd Pletcher
Dixie Union—Unacloud, by Unaccounted For
This is the first of the longshot specials, not that he should be a longshot. But he will be ignored because of the slow time of the Arkansas Derby and who he beat. The track at Oaklawn this year has been on the deep side and I just love the way he opened up on the field late and just kept going. Turned in a strong work with Palace Malice.
Palace Malice Todd Pletcher
Curlin—Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem
More and more people seem to be latching on to him as a live longshot, and rightly so. His half-mile work in company with Overanalyze was strong. The only reason to be a bit skeptical is blinkers on. Although he probably needs them and should benefit from them, a change of equipment for the Derby is not what you want to see.
Normandy Invasion Chad Brown
Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor
Chad Brown has done a great job getting him sharp, with some brilliant works over the past month, and it is highly unlikely we’ll see him as far back as he’s been in recent starts. If he breaks well, expect to see him no worse than mid-pack. He just needs to make that explosive run on the far turn and not wait until the final sixteenth.
Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr.
Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court
He no doubt will be the forgotten horse. He shipped well from Calder and looked like a million bucks on the track April 28. Even though he just jogged around there, he acted like he owned the place and was strutting along with his neck slightly arched as if he’s been there his whole life. Distance is a slight question, but the talent sure isn’t.
Goldencents Doug O'Neill
Into Mischief—Golden Works, by Banker's Gold
I admit this colt could be ranked way too low, especially considering the high degree of optimism in his camp. But so much depends on the draw and where he’s placed. He’s going to need every break to get the 1 1/4 miles. O’Neill has done a super job getting him to settle and relax early. Wouldn’t mind seeing him relax on the lead and try to steal it.
Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas
Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy
Like Palace Malice, he hasn’t had the opportunity to show what he’s capable of. Between the bad posts, the premature moves, and having to come from dead-last in the Arkansas Derby, he deserves to get a break. He’s been like a coiled bundle of energy and is rarely still. He’ll have to harness that just a bit in the race, but he is definitely raring to go.
Mylute Tom Amoss
Midnight Lute—Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations
A big under-the-radar colt who seems to be coming up to a peak performance. Amoss has been training him just the way he did for the Louisiana Derby, and if you like Revolutionary you obviously have to at least give him a legitimate shot at an upset. He’s a well-balanced colt with an excellent disposition and must be respected.
Java's War Kenny McPeek
War Pass—Java, by Rainbow Quest
Well, you know one thing, he’s going to be at the back of the pack and is going to have to find a way to get through or around a 20-horse field. I actually liked stablemate Frac Daddy’s work a little better when they went in company, but he has more credentials of the two, and has to be respected for his monster closing punch and big effort at Tampa.
Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez
Into Mischief —Life Happened, by Stravinsky
I wish I knew what to make of him and what to expect. I know his last work was panned big-time, but he just may be a horse who needs encouraging in his works. I also can’t help but remember the quick acceleration he showed in the Wood before flattening out slightly at the end. But with the lung infection and time at Fair Hill, who knows?