TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders


IMPROBABLE (c, City ZipRare Event, by A.P. Indy)
‘TDN Rising Star’. O-WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. & Starlight Racing. B-St. George Farm LLC & G. Watts Humphrey Jr. (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $110,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $200,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 5-3-2-0, $619,520.
Last Start: 2nd, GI Arkansas Derby, OP, Apr. 13
Equineline PPsCaulfield on Improbable. KY Derby Points: 65.

‘TDN Rising Star’ Improbable, like stablemate Game Winner, will enter the Derby with two honest second-place efforts that demonstrate progression beyond what appears in his running lines. This $200,000 KEESEP City Zip chestnut was four wide on both turns of the GII Rebel S. and only beaten a neck, then came up one length shy of No. 1-ranked Omaha Beach after they locked horns the length of the homestretch in the Arkansas Derby. Improbable did show improved focus in that race (he had been cocking his head in previous works and races), but he was fractious in the post parade and anxious in the gate. Trainer Bob Baffert had been schooling Improbable to be more of a speed-oriented horse and even added blinkers as an experiment in the Arkansas Derby. But after the race Baffert said he didn’t think the blinkers helped, so maybe Improbable will remain a stalker in a Derby that does not have any tour-de-force early speed on paper. Improbable is athletic, light on his feet, and has a long stride. Last Breeders’ Cup weekend, Baffert told TDN this colt was a “50% version of Justify. He’s the same color and has the same markings on his face.” Even if Improbable hasn’t rounded into the other 50% of last year’s Triple Crown winner, another 20% or so of improvement would put him in the hunt as a legit Derby win threat.