TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

TDN Derby Top 12 for March 27

As we enter the demanding segment of the GI Kentucky Derby prep schedule when most of the important stakes stretch to nine furlongs and are worth 100 qualifying points to the winners, five of this week’s Top 12 horses are based in southern California with the remaining seven stabled in Florida. This coming Saturday’s GI Florida Derby looms as a true three-horse throwdown featuring a trio of top-ranked hopefuls, and looking ahead two weeks the GI Santa Anita Derby is shaping up to be the best head-to-head Triple Crown prep showdown we have seen in years. After a relatively slow start to the season, the plot thickens as the cadence quickens.

1) MCKINZIE (c, Street SenseRunway Model, by Petionville)
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Karl Watson, Michael Pegram & Paul Weitman. B-Summer Wind Farm (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $170,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GISW,
4-3-1-0, $350,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 1
Last Start: 2nd GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec. 9; 1st GIII Sham S., SA, Jan. 6
Next Start: GI Santa Anita Derby, SA, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on McKinzie.
KY Derby Points: 40

I’ve never totally bought into the “racing needs star horses” mantra–especially if that’s code for “a 1-5 shot cantering around the track chased by inferior foes.” But genuine slugfest, grudge-match rivalries like the one that is percolating between ‘TDN Rising Star’ McKinzie and his talented nemesis Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) are a real treat to watch and wager upon, and I think the sport can’t get enough of them. Here’s hoping the GI Santa Anita Derby sequel lives up to the length-of-stretch battle royale we witnessed in the GII San Felipe S. (without the added plot twist of a stewards’ disqualification of McKinzie that was imposed upon the official result). McKinzie’s progression through four career races has been unusually linear and in an upward arc since his maiden debut Oct. 28, and being involved in tight, hotly contested finishes in several of those starts has given him an early-career edge that not all A-list sophomores have experienced this winter/spring. It’s true that you could look back at several of McKinzie’s early starts and say this $170,000 KEESEP Street Sense colt hasn’t always looked comfortable fighting late in the lane: He swished his tail in the stretch runs of his first three races when called upon for more aggression, and in the San Felipe he was bearing out late while fully extended. But you also have to figure he’s learning by doing in his afternoon engagements, which is exactly what Derby-caliber colts are supposed to do at this time of the season. The hunch here is that he hasn’t peaked yet.

2) BOLT D’ORO (c, Medaglia d’OroGlobe Trot, by A.P. Indy)
O-Ruis Racing. B-WinStar Farm (KY). T-Mick Ruis. Sales History: $630,000 yrl FTSAUG ’16. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 5-4-0-1, $816,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 2
Last Start: 1st GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Del Mar Futurity, DMR, Sept. 4; 1st GI FrontRunner S., SA, Sept. 30. 3rd GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, SA, Nov. 4
Next Start: GI Santa Anita Derby, SA, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Bolt d’Oro. KY Derby Points: 64

So in the spirit of continuing on about the rivalry detailed above in McKinzie’s write-up, let’s take a different look at the progression/peaking perspective. If McKinzie’s strong point is his linear advancement over four well-spaced races, Bolt d’Oro’s unseen ace could be that because he’s off to a late start in training/racing in 2018 (muscle pull in January), there is a greater likelihood he has accrued firepower in his arsenal that we haven’t yet seen. To put it another way, I consider it highly likely both colts will progress further in the Santa Anita Derby. But of the two, I think the odds are in favor of Bolt d’Oro being the one who is more capable of an outright “Wow!” performance, because he’s making his second start off an extended layoff. While McKinzie’s steadiness in his past-performance lines suggests a reliable pattern of incremental progression, Bolt d’Oro’s races (including his defeat as the fave in the Breeders’ Cup) and limited data at age three (only one start this year to go on) suggests a sniff of volatility that could swing in either direction. Yet if this $630,000 FTSAUG son of Medaglia d’Oro truly turns out to be the real deal, that volatility could spark an explosive breakthrough in the Santa Anita Derby that stamps him as the obvious horse to beat on the first Saturday in May. Remember, owner/trainer Mick Ruis has been on record as saying that “Bolt” was only at 80% of his true potential going into the San Felipe, and SoCal clockers have been raving at how good the colt has bounced out of that seasonal debut. He worked a bullet half mile in :47 (1/74) on Monday.

3) CATHOLIC BOY (c, More Than ReadySong of Bernadette, by Bernardini)
O-Robert V. LaPenta & Madaket Stable. B-Fred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding (KY). T-Jonathan Thomas. Sales History: $170,000 PS yrl KEEJAN ’16. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 5-3-1-0, $354,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 4
Last Start: 2nd GIII Sam F. Davis S., TAM, Feb. 10
Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Remsen S., AQU, Dec. 2.; 1st GIII With Anticipation S., SAR, Aug. 30.
Next Start: GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

Catholic Boy carried the honor (or is it a burden?) of being ranked No. 1 on this Top 12 list to start the first month of the Derby preps, but now that his underwhelming second in the GIII Sam F. Davis S. is seven weeks behind us in the rear-view mirror, he is once again percolating to the top as a potential “now” colt heading into the testing stretch of the season that features nine-furlong stakes. He’ll get a new jockey (Irad Ortiz Jr.) for the GI Florida Derby, and trainer Jonathan Thomas went on record a month ago saying he’d like to see a change of tactics (one sustained run from farther back) to better take advantage of this son of More Than Ready (Southern Halo)’s commanding late turn of foot. Catholic Boy put in his final breeze for Gulfstream’s showcase sophomore race on Sunday when he worked a half mile while targeting, reeling in, and drawing away from company through the stretch in :48.46 (8/58). “We were looking for something for him to get into a good rhythm and let the work open up time-wise,” Thomas said. “They went in :24 and change and then finished up the last quarter in :24 and galloped out the five-eighths nicely in 1:01 and change. Then I wanted to be careful and shut it down, because the horse tends to gallop out pretty strong….A half-mile work could quickly turn into a three-quarter mile work with him. It looked like he got over the track really great. I like the way he sat with the other horse and pulled away when asked to.”

4) MAGNUM MOON (c, Malibu MoonDazzling 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 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-3-0-0, $577,800.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 1st, GII Rebel S., OP, Mar. 17.
Next Start: Possible for GI Arkansas Derby, OP, Apr. 14
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Magnum Moon.
KY Debry Points: 50

When a top-level colt is three-for-three at this juncture of the season and suddenly bursts into Derby contention off a big-figure stakes score, the adjective “flashy” is usually the descriptor that springs to mind. But this $380,000 KEESEP colt instead displayed a determined, level-headed professionalism in winning the Mar. 17 GII Rebel S., and the way this son of Malibu Moon methodically dismantled better-seasoned foes while appearing to have more left to give belies the fact that he’s a May 9 foal who only began his racing career on Jan. 13. Magnum Moon broke running in his stakes debut, rated willingly on the backstretch run, and incrementally edged himself into a preferred position before responding willingly to more aggressive handling off the far turn. This ‘TDN Rising Star’ has now handled three very different racing surfaces (Gulfstream, Tampa, and Oaklawn) in as many starts, stretching out capably in distance each time. Trainer Todd Pletcher said a return to Hot Springs for the Apr. 14 GI Arkansas Derby is a likely next assignment. The promise of possibility is very high for this colt right now, and the bullet points on his work-in-progress resume include the ability to run fast-number races, grace under tactical pressure, stamina-influenced bloodlines, and a trainer who certainly knows what it takes to get sophomores to peak on the first Saturday in May.

5) GOOD MAGIC (c, CurlinGlinda the Good, by Hard Spun)
O-e Five Thoroughbreds & Stonestreet Stables. B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings (KY). T-C Brown. Sales History: $1 million yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo, GISW, 4-1-2-1, $1,255,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 5
Last Start: 3rd, GII Fountain of Youth S., GP, Mar. 3
Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, SA, Nov. 4.; 2nd GI Champagne S., BEL, Oct. 7.
Next Start: GII Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 34

Good Magic joins Catholic Boy as the two highest ranked horses on this week’s version of the Top 12 who did not make an overwhelmingly positive impression despite hitting the board in their 2018 debuts. But both colts had tipped their hands at age two that they might be high-caliber contenders worthy of winning Classic races, so a single subpar performance isn’t going to derail them from top-notch consideration just yet. Good Magic carries substantially higher expectations as the divisional champion, but the fact remains that this million-dollar KEESEP colt is still one-for-four lifetime and has considerable catching up to do given his light seasoning. Trainer Chad Brown told TDN‘s Bill Finley on Sunday that he was “a little disappointed” in Good Magic’s beaten-fave third in the GII Fountain of Youth S. even though he wasn’t surprised the colt was a little short. “I was relieved to see him come back and breeze really well twice. I’m optimistic that he got a lot out of the race and I think he will take a big jump forward. But we need to see it. I’ve only gone down this path a few times with Derby horses, and I’m getting a good idea of what it takes. I see a big forward move. That said, I understand he’s going to be facing some very good horses in the races ahead and he’s going to have to be at his best.”

6) PROMISES FULFILLED (c, ShacklefordMarquee Delivery, by Marquetry)
O-Robert J. Baron. B-David Jacobs (KY). T-Dale Romans. Sales history: $37,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 4-3-0-1, $327,280.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 7
Last Start: 1st GII Fountain of Youth S., GP, Mar. 3.
Next Start: GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
Kentucky Derby Points: 52

While the projected Santa Anita Derby matchup of McKinzie versus Bolt d’Oro unquestionably rates as the rivalry of the year on the Triple Crown prep trail, the anticipated three-way clash of Promises Fulfilled, Catholic Boy, and Audible (Into Mischief) in Saturday’s Florida Derby ranks a touch deeper in terms of multi-horse intrigue, and it’s likely to produce the colt who will carry the banner of “best in the East” into the Kentucky Derby. The pace strategizing should also be fascinating to watch unfold, as Promises Fulfilled is a committed frontrunner, Audible excels when forwardly placed or stalking, and Catholic Boy will likely revert to his previously successful style of making one run from farther off the up-front action. We hear so much about developing horses needing to learn to rate patiently heading into the Derby that it sometimes blinds us to the value of a bold frontrunner who can assert himself up top and fend off all comers, and this unruffled $37,000 KEESEP son of Shackleford is shaping up to be just that kind of horse with very little fanfare or notice. “He’s been the same ever since we’ve gotten him,” trainer Dale Romans told XBTV on Saturday following the colt’s 1:02.04 Gulfstream Park breeze for five furlongs (19/42). “He just gets better and better. And that work was perfect. We didn’t want to go real fast, and just to try to get him to slow down [above] 1:01 was good. He took his cues, did what he was supposed to do, and I think he’s fit and ready.”

7) AUDIBLE (c, Into MischiefBlue Devil Bel, by Gilded Time)
O-WinStar, China Horse Club & SF Racing. B-Oak Bluff Stables LLC (NY). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $175,000 FTNSAR yrl ’16; $500,000 FTFMAR 2yo ’17. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-1, $287,720
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 8
Last Start: 1st, GII Holy Bull S., GP, Feb. 3.
Next Start: GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 10

Audible has inherited “most time since last start” status within this edition of the Derby Top 12, and when he vies for favoritism in Saturday’s Florida Derby he will be coming off a layoff of 56 days. We haven’t seen him on the track in the afternoon since his runaway 5 1/2-length win in the GII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream on Feb. 3 (a race which produced the next-out first- and third-place finishers of the GIII Gotham S.), and trainer Todd Pletcher’s previous four Florida Derby winners all scored on shorter rest of 22, 28 (twice), and 35 days. Yet longer spacing between races on the Derby prep trail is evolving as the norm, and Pletcher remains quietly confident this $500,000 FTFMAR son of Into Mischief is up to the task based on morning training alone. “He’s not an overzealous work horse, but I thought he put in a nice [:49.39] on a track that’s not playing particularly fast,” Pletcher told XBTV after a Saturday half-mile breeze (3/30) at Palm Beach Downs. “He galloped out with some enthusiasm, and he seems like he’s training consistently with the way we’ve seen him train leading up to the Holy Bull and his other races. He’s done well physically, and it seems like he’s coming up to the Florida Derby in good order.” In the past 20 years, only three horses–Dialed In (Mineshaft) in 2011, Hal’s Hope (Jolie’s Halo) in 2000, and Cape Town (Seeking the Gold) in 1998–have pulled off the difficult Holy Bull/Florida Derby double.

8) INSTILLED REGARD (c, Arch--Enhancing, by Foresty)
O-OXO Equine LLC. B-KatieRich Farms (KY). T-Jerry Hollendorfer. Sales history: $110,000 RNA yrl KEESEP ’16, $1,050,000 2yo OBSMAR ’17. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 6-2-2-1, $244,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 9
Last Start: 4th, GII Risen Star S., FG, Feb. 17
Accomplishments: 1st, GIII Lecomte S., FG, Jan. 13; 2nd, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec. 9.
Next Start: GI Santa Anita Derby, SA, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Instilled Regard.
KY Derby Points: 19

McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro will justifiably vie for favoritism and all the pre-race hype heading into the Santa Anita Derby. But the “wise guy” horse who is the most likely candidate to play spoiler is Instilled Regard. He’s already finished within a head of the likes of McKinzie, and the horse who finished a neck better than Instilled Regard in his head-scratchier fourth in the GII Risen Star S., Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy), came back to win last Saturday’s GII Louisiana Derby. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer isn’t the type of conditioner who’s going to dwell on a single blah performance like the one this colt offered in New Orleans, and he also isn’t the sort of horseman who would opt for a tough spot like the Santa Anita Derby if he didn’t think this $1.05 million OBSMAR son of Arch was capable of rebounding. Instilled Regard’s GIII Lecomte S. romp by 3 3/4 lengths two starts back still resonates as one of the more fluidly powerful winning efforts we’ve seen this season on the Triple Crown trail, because he gave the impression he could pounce at will in the middle stages of the race, then got first run on the leaders, effortlessly meshed into a higher gear, and galloped out strongly after the wire. Joel Rosario has been engaged as Instilled Regard’s new rider for the Santa Anita Derby, replacing Javier Castellano (who has the call aboard Bolt d’Oro). The colt worked seven furlongs Sunday in 1:25.80 and will have one more blowout prior to his Apr. 7 start.

9) JUSTIFY (c, Scat Daddy-Stage Magic, by Ghostzapper)
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm. B- John D. Gunther (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $500,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $66,000.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 11
Last Start: 1st Allowance Optional Claiming, SA, Mar. 11.
Next Start: Possible for GI Arkansas Derby, OP, Apr. 14
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 0

So much dazzling potential, so precious few data points to provide an accurate assessment of where this ‘TDN Rising Star’ truly fits into the overall Derby picture. That about sums up the prognostication of this undefeated $500,000 KEESEP Scat Daddy colt, who has wowed the racing world with two visually impressive scores at Santa Anita that have both earned triple-digit Beyer figures. Justify’s inherent talent seems obvious, but when you factor in the timing of what he is trying to accomplish in terms of Derby aspirations and the fact that he faces a steep hike in class and a potentially arduous pair of cross-country shipping experiences between now and May 5 just to have a realistic shot at that goal, the picture gets quite a bit more hazy. Those are legitimate debate points, but it still doesn’t detract from the highly anticipated Magnum Moon–Justify matchup of undefeated up-and-comers that looms in the Apr. 14 Arkansas Derby, and you can count on Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith as a believer in what this colt is capable of. “I hate to compare him to other horses right now, but doesn’t he remind you of an Easy Goer way back in the day?” Smith said after Justify’s dazzling Mar. 11 allowance win around two turns. “Just a big ol’ red horse with a big, powerful stride. The distance didn’t seem to bother him. I know that was just a mile, but he could have galloped out another quarter of a mile if he had to. There’s a lot of potential there.”

10) NOBLE INDY (c, Take Charge Indy–Noble Maz, by Storm Boot)
‘TDN RISING STAR’ O-WinStar Farm LLC & Repole Stable. B-WinStar Farm LLC. T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $45,000 RNA yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 4-3-0-1, $691,600.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 1st, Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 24.
Next Start: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, May 5
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Noble Indy.
KY Derby Points: 110

‘TDN Rising Star’ Noble Indy becomes the first horse of the season to win a 100-point race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule, and he’s also the first listed horse within TDN‘s Top 12 rankings to have “Kentucky Derby” affixed alongside his name as his projected next start. His win in the Louisiana Derby over the weekend comes across as more of a nice progression step in his past-performance cut rather than a dazzling, lights-out performance. Racing with blinkers on for the first time, this $45,000 KEESEP colt settled into stride alongside the rail after bouncing off the gate at the break, then had a gift of a trip stalking and then edging off the rail behind an ambitious 141-1 pacemaker who eventually faded to last. Cued to quicken by jockey John Velazquez into the far turn, this son of Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy) responded capably but was immediately double teamed at the head of the lane by a pair of closers who fought (and briefly wrested the lead from him) through the length of the long Fair Grounds stretch. Noble Indy re-rallied, put both away with a late surge, then galloped out smartly clear of his foes past the wire. “We haven’t made any firm plans yet,” trainer Todd Pletcher told the Fair Grounds notes team the day after the race. “Currently, the only plan is that he’ll come back to Palm Beach Downs on [Mar. 26]. We’ll regroup there if everything holds true between now and Churchill, we could ship in twelve to thirteen days before the Derby and have a breeze over the track.”

11) ENTICED (c, Medaglia d’OroIt’s Tricky, by Mineshaft)
O-Godolphin Racing. B-Godolphin (KY). T-Kiaran McLaughlin. Lifetime Record: MGSW & GISP, 5-3-0-1, $410,680.
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 10
Last Start: 1st GIII Gotham S., AQU, Mar. 10
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GII Kentucky Jockey Club S., CD, Nov. 25 3rd, GI Champagne S., BEL, Oct. 7.
Next Start: GII Wood Memorial S., AQU, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 63

Enticed’s victory back on Nov. 25 in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. has since proven to be an emphatically productive key race. The horses he beat that day include next-out Grade II stakes winners Promises Fulfilled and Quip (Distorted Humor), plus Reride (Candy Ride{Arg}) and Bravazo (Awesome Again), each of whom came back to win an allowance race followed by a subsequent stakes. That information looks good on this homebred Medaglia d’Oro colt’s resume, but it won’t be as meaningful as what Enticed does himself in his next start to build off his one-turn mile score in the GIII Gotham S. Right now he looms as the horse to beat in the Apr. 7 GII Wood Memorial S., but that race seems to be shaping up as light on commitments from top-level Derby hopefuls, so it’s unclear how much of a test it will offer in terms of the depth of competition. Jockey Junior Alvarado has noted that Enticed is “a horse that takes a while to get going,” but concerns about momentum-stopping aren’t as much of a problem in a shorter field at Aqueduct as they might be in the 20-horse Derby. Still, Enticed does have a Derby advantage that only one horse ranked above him on this list (Promises Fulfilled) can boast: A win over the track at Churchill Downs.

12) SOLOMINI (c, Curlin-Surf Song, by Storm Cat)
O-Zayat Stables LLC. B-Glenna R. Salyer (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $270,000 KEESEP ’16 yrl. Lifetime Record: MGISP, 4-1-2-1, $472,000
Mar. 13 TDN Top 12 Rank: 6
Last Start: 2nd, Rebel S., OP, Mar. 17
Accomplishments Include: 3rd GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec.9; 2nd GI Frontrunner S., SA, Sept. 30; 2nd GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, DMR, Nov. 4
Next Start: GII Wood Memorial S., AQU, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 34

Solomini clings to berth No. 12 on this week’s edition of TDN‘s Derby rankings. He got an inside trip in the GII Rebel S., couldn’t punch through a tight gap when firing off the turn for home, then steadied off heels to pick up the pieces behind Magnum Moon. He was second that afternoon at Oaklawn, but I’m not convinced a cleaner trip would have earned him the victory. Still, he merits respect because he’s previously kept company with some tough West Coast competition, and that’s where the overall strength of the division is right now. But we’re zeroing in on the five-week mark to the Derby, and this $270,000 KEESEP Curlin colt hasn’t posted an official win since his maiden-breaker way back on Sep. 2. He’s in danger of being classified as an “it’s always something” type of horse (losing focus in the stretch of the Breeders’ Cup, getting DQ’d in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity, encountering trip trouble in his lone 2018 try). But he can redeem himself with a breakthrough performance in his next start, wherever that might be. Of all the races that could be open for consideration, the Wood Memorial makes the most sense, because right now it’s a little light on probables, and trainer Bob Baffert already has higher-ranked stablemates committed to stakes like the Santa Anita Derby (McKinzie) and Arkansas Derby (Justify).

On the Bubble (in alphabetical order)

Blended Citizen (Proud Citizen): Added blinkers and got rail run into slow pace to annex Turfway prep; Blue Grass S. likely next.
Flameaway (Scat Daddy): Late Triple Crown nominee to target Blue Grass S. next; has now won over fast dirt, firm turf, mud, slop, and a synthetic surface.
Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}): Misunderstanding over not being able to carry over European Derby points into U.S. races means detour to Newcastle in UK on Friday instead of previously announced trip to AQU or KEE.
Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner looms as tough customer in Saturday’s UAE Derby.
Quip (Distorted Humor): ‘Rising Star’ could resurface in Blue Grass S. off GII Tampa Derby victory.
Reride (Candy Ride {Arg}): ‘Rising Star’ taking unprecedented 2018 path to Derby–Delta, Sunland, Dubai.
Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway): Baffert trainee missed San Felipe with minor foot issue, then failed to make earnings cut to enter GIII Sunland Derby. Next option unclear, but worth following as late bloomer.
Runaway Ghost (Ghostzapper): Drew off after pacemakers posted swift splits in Sunland Derby.
Storm Runner (Get Stormy): Suffered poor trip in Fountain of Youth; that one’s a tossout, but competition looms even tougher in Florida Derby.
Strike Power (Speightstown): ‘Rising Star’ should “break a little sharper” in Saturday’s Florida Derby per trainer Hennig after decent second chasing Promises Fulfilled in the Fountain of Youth.