Triple Crown Contenders

The TDN Derby Top 20 for Apr. 24, Presented by WinStar Farm

We're now inside the two-week mark for the May 5 GI Kentucky Derby and big jumps in the prep-race pecking order have given way to behind-the-scenes strategizing, final workout intrigue, and the intensity of big-race anticipation. One Derby spot opened up on Monday morning and another is still in flux based on the dual news that Quip (Distorted Humor) has been withdrawn from Derby consideration to instead aim for the GI Preakness S. and that the British-based Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}) will also miss the race with a minor infection that...

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Lone Sailor

LONE SAILOR (c, Majestic Warrior-Ambitious, by Mr. Greeley) O-GMB Racing. B-Alexander-Groves-Matz, LLC (KY). T-Thomas Amoss. Sales history: $120,000 yrl KEESEP '16. Lifetime Record: GISP, 9-1-3-1, $334,237. Lone Sailor was bet down to half of his realistic 50-1 morning line odds, which I can only attribute to bettors giving him generous credit for a blowout win when sprinting in the slop at Saratoga last summer. Jockey James Graham dropped him right down onto the inside rail upon leaving the gate, and he deserves credit for saving ground and edging incrementally closer...

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TDN Derby Top 20 for April 17

The prep season is over, but that doesn't mean the intrigue has ended as the racing world locks its focus on the main event, the May 5 GI Kentucky Derby. Please note that the rankings below are independent from the "Road to the Derby" points leaderboard that Churchill Downs will use to determine starting berths; that list can be accessed here. 1) MAGNUM MOON (c, Malibu Moon-Dazzling Song, by Unbridled's Song) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Robert E. & Lawana L. Low. B-Ramona S. Bass, LLC (KY). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $380,000...

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Gronkowski

GRONKOWSKI (Lonhro {Aus}-Four Sugars, by Lookin At Lucky) O-Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited. B-Epic Thoroughbreds LLC. T-Jeremy Noseda. Sales history: $75,000 wnl KEENOV '15; $67,415 yrl TATOCT '16; $404,492 2yo TATBRE '17. Lifetime Record: 6-4-1-0, $135,644. Apr. 10 TDN Top 20 Rank: 20 Last Start: 1st, 32red Burradon S, NEW, Mar. 30. Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: Qualified via European Road to the KY Derby Gronkowski has never run on dirt nor beyond a mile, and he qualified for a berth in Louisville by winning the Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby...

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Bravazo

BRAVAZO (c, Awesome Again--Tiz o' Gold, by Cee's Tizzy) O/B-Calumet Farm. T-D. Wayne Lukas. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 9-3-1-1, $436,528. Bravazo ran a very credible sixth and handled the Derby slop quite adeptly according to jockey Luis Contreras. At the gate break, this Awesome Again homebred managed to spurt out ahead of the crowding from outside, but he was quickly boxed by horses in front and to both sides and had to ease back a bit. Bravazo got floated out to the five path midway through the first bend,...

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Runaway Ghost

RUNAWAY GHOST (c, Ghostzapper--Rose's Desert, by Desert Gold) O/B-Joe Peacock. T-Todd W. Fincher. Sales history: $240,000 RNA yrl KEESEP '16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 7-4-2-0, $563,510. Apr. 3 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A Last Start: 1st, GIII Sunland Derby, SUN, Mar. 25. Next Start: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, May 5. Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 50 Whenever a horse qualifies for the Derby via the New Mexico prep-race series, a "lovable long shot" story seems destined to follow (think Mine That Bird at 50-1 in 2009). How can you not root...

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Combatant

COMBATANT (c, Scat Daddy--Border Dispute, by Boundary) O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC & Willis Horton Racing LLC. B-Paget Bloodstock. T-Steven Asmussen. Sales history: $320,000 yrl KEESEP '16. Lifetime Record: MGSP, 8-1-3-1, $388,550. Combatant drew wide in gate 20, and after breaking a step slowly, all of a sudden there was a three-horse gulf to his immediate inside as crowding occurred to his left. Ricardo Santana Jr. coaxed him ahead to narrow that gap, but this $320,000 KEESEP Scat Daddy colt still ended up widest through the stretch the first time before getting...

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Hofburg

HOFBURG (c, Tapit-Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold) O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc. (KY). T-Bill Mott. Lifetime Record: GISP, 4-1-1-0, $227,950. Hofburg's seventh in the Derby rates as a much-better-than-it-looks effort, especially factoring in his relative inexperience. He took up a back-of-the-pack position two paths off the rail early and was walled up on the backstretch without displaying any willingness to knife through between horses. This Tapit homebred was nudged along while committed to an inside bid, then got shuffled back at the far turn entrance as rail-running horses backed up in front...

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Vino Rosso

VINO ROSSO (c, Curlin-Mythical Bride, by Street Cry {Ire}) O-Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable. B- John D. Gunther (KY). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $410,000 yrl KEESEP '16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 6-3-0-1, $620,500. This $410,000 KEESEP Curlin colt never looked comfortable in the back of the pack taking a spray of slop and he could only muster a mild bid after getting parked four, then five wide on both turns. "Vino Rosso just didn't like the track. Not at all," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday. "We had to flush a...

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TDN Derby Top 20 for April 10

Now that the big "power weekend" of coast-to-coast nine-furlong preps is behind us, the GI Kentucky Derby rankings have solidified enough to graduate from the top 12 in the division to the top 20. To illustrate how much has changed in the past three months, the two highest-rated prospects currently occupying the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings hadn't even made their racing debuts when this feature was first published for the season, and the colt now clocking in at No. 4 was considered an overseas-based turf specialist. Please note...

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