TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Art Collector

2) ART COLLECTOR (c, BernardiniDistorted Legacy, by Distorted Humor)
O/B-Bruce Lunsford (KY). T-Thomas Drury Jr. Lifetime Record: GSW, 9-5-1-0, $548,475.
Last Start: 1st Runhappy Ellis Park Derby, ELP, Aug. 9
Accomplishments: 1st GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, July 11
Next Start: Runhappy Ellis Park Derby, ELP, Aug. 9
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 150.

Art Collector goes in Sunday’s Ellis Park Derby as the horse to beat. But he’s not on the hunt for qualifying points (currently fifth with 100), so he needn’t be fully cranked when the true target is really four weeks later in Louisville. His 103 Beyer Speed Figure, 3 1/2-length breakout win in the GII Blue Grass S. was admirable for the sustained pressure Art Collector applied over nine furlongs before out-torqueing a very game Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in the stretch. Yet until we see more stakes-quality horses run back from Keeneland’s July mini-meet, it will be hard to quantify how many performances over those five days were affected by a perceived bias that at times seemed to favor pace-pressers. Even if Art Collector did win under ideal circumstances, the overall body of work for this athletic-framed Bruce Lunsford homebred does not stamp him as a one-race wonder. He’s crossed the finish wire first sprinting on the turf, in in the slop, and on a dry track, and then scored by open lengths in both his route attempts. If you’re a firm believer in the “what have you done for me lately?” angle, it’s also worth noting that Art Collector and Tiz the Law are the only Top 12 contenders with perfect three-for-three records in 2020.