TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

On The Bubble

Rounding out the starting gate…
13) Cutting Humor (First Samurai): The Derby mount is still open on this $400,000 FTSAUG track-record holder (GIII Sunland Derby). If you exclude this colt's seventh-place puzzler as the beaten fave in the GIII Southwest S., he's never been off the board in five other starts.

14) Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy): This colt's seven solid races of two-turn experience under the guidance of a trainer who has hit the board four times in the Kentucky Derby (including twice in the past three years with decent-odds horses) are obvious plusses. But the fact that this Take Charge Indy homebred was a non-threatening sixth in his only go against Grade I competition is what relegates him to long-shot status, probably somewhere north of 40-1 for the Derby.

15) Maximum Security (New Year's Day): This undefeated wire-to-wire winner of the slow-tempo GI Florida Derby began his career with a 9 3/4-length romp in a $16,000 maiden-claimer at Gulfstream before dominating in a pair of optional claiming/allowance races by a combined 24 3/4 lengths. After Maximum Security stole the Florida Derby under pace conditions that he will be unlikely to replicate in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Jason Servis said, “Candidly, if you read between the lines, there had to be a reason why I ran him for $16,000. Am I glad I didn't lose him? Hell, yeah. Is he training good and sound? Yes. But there was a reason why I ran him for $16,000.”

16) Spinoff (Hard Spun): Can you find true, legitimate frontrunning speed with staying power in this year's Derby lineup? I have trouble doing so. Maybe you could make a 60-1 case for this colt, who hails from the barn of a two-time Derby-winning trainer and held on for as long as he could in the Louisiana Derby despite getting roughed up and hooked wide in the early stages of that stakes.

17) By My Standards (Goldencents): The 22-1 Louisiana Derby upsetter worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 Monday at Churchill (2/5) with regular jockey Gabriel Saez aboard. “That was about as good as you can get two weeks out from the race,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “This horse is just hitting his best stride and I think that's what we'll see from him going into the Derby.”

18) Gray Magician (Graydar): Rallied credibly behind Plus Que Parfait in the UAE Derby, but the best stateside races in his past-performance block are a six-horse one-mile maiden romp at Del Mar and a six-horse, one-turn-mile second in a minor stakes at Laurel.

19) Haikal (Daaher): It will be a big jump from one-turn success exclusively at Aqueduct to 10 furlongs in the Derby. This colt is an opportunist, though, who knows how to close into collapsing pace scenarios, and there is enough stamina foundation deeper into his pedigree to aid his stretch-out journey.

20) Master Fencer (Jpn) (Just A Way {Jpn}): This year's Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby invitee was fourth on the points scheme, and his connections accepted the Derby invitation after the first three qualifiers opted out. He ran in a pair of 10-furlong turf races prior to winning two nine-furlong dirt events, then rallied from last to finish second in his most recent race, the Fukuryu S. at Nakayama on Mar. 31.

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