TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

TDN Derby Top 12 for March 6

We have a new No. 1 in the TDN Top 12 rankings, but for how long? The two previous early-season leaders couldn’t quite live up to their advance billings when returning off layoffs, and we’ve seen a steady progression of sophomores advancing through the ranks more or less by default without witnessing one powerfully dominant “Wow!” performance yet this season. But the cadence will quicken and the plot will thicken this coming weekend, with a trifecta of coast-to-coast preps spanning California, Florida and New York.

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,
3-3-0-0, $270,000.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 2
Last Start: 1st GIII Sham S., SA, Jan. 6 Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec. 9
Next Start: GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on McKinzie.
KY Derby Points: 20

‘TDN Rising Star’ McKinzie makes his debut as the new No. 1 on this week’s Top 12 list without having raced in two months. He inherits the kingpin slot with plenty of unrealized potential seemingly in his favor, but he’ll have to do something his two TDN top-ranked predecessors—Good Magic (Curlin) and Catholic Boy (More Than Ready)—failed to do, which is to run an assertive, leave-no-doubt race off the layoff to retain that leader-of-the-pack status. Sunday, trainer Bob Baffert was satisfied enough with this $170,000 KEESEP colt’s second consecutive in-company, seven-furlong work—this one in 1:23.80 (1/2)—to declare that this coming Saturday’s GII San Felipe S. at Santa Anita will be McKinzie’s next afternoon target. This Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}) colt will enter that 1 1/16- miles test undefeated (albeit with one win via DQ), looking to continue a linear developmental arc in which his strengths have been a nice in-race response when cued to quicken and a willingness to fight through the stretch. Baffert has won two of the past three runnings of the San Felipe (and six overall, with six different jockeys). But because McKinzie got off to a slightly later start (Oct. 29 debut), the timing of his races has thus far avoided a head-to-head clash with Eclipse Award juvenile finalist Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), who rates a very close second on this week’s Top 12 and is likely to go off favored over McKinzie in the San Felipe. Either way, Saturdays stakes rates as the best head-to-head match-up of the season so far on the Derby trail.


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, 4-3-0-1, $576,000.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 3
Last Start: 3rd GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, SA, Nov. 4
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Del Mar Futurity, DMR, Sept. 4; 1st GI FrontRunner S., SA, Sept. 30.
Next Start: GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10 Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Bolt d’Oro. KY Derby Points: 14

Bolt d’Oro has waited 127 days to redeem himself after his compromised trip as the beaten favorite in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Saturday’s San Felipe S. will be no slouch of a spot for his return to the races. He’ll have to deal with the slightly fresher (but similarly lightly seasoned) No. 1-ranked McKinzie, among others, and the company lines in this test (and another presumed subsequent start before the Derby) are going to look a lot tougher than the fields $630,000 FTSAUG yearling purchase by Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado {Ire}) pasted back in August and September. One tactical quirk that “Bolt” needs to address is his propensity for exiting the starting gate a step slowly, which is something he was able to overcome in the GI Del Mar Futurity, but not in the Breeders’ Cup, when he bobbled at the break, came out 11th, and got parked very wide on the clubhouse turn trying to catch up. Breaking tardily was something he also did in his most recent work from the gate last week, too, so it appears as if this issue is a work in progress. Then again, the raw talent this colt displayed last season has everyone on the Triple Crown trail on edge waiting to see how he’s developed from age two to three, and if he runs a lights-out race on Saturday, he’ll be a formidable foe with a target on his back just in time for the major remaining preps to stretch out to nine furlongs. He blitzed a half mile Monday morning at Santa Anita in :46.40 (1/94) for his final San Felipe blowout.


3) AVERY ISLAND (c, Street Sense-Kinda Spicy, by A.P. Indy)
O-Godolphin Racing. B-Godolphin (KY). T-Kiaran McLaughlin. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-1-0, $365,332.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 4
Last Start: 1st GIII Withers S., AQU, Feb. 3.
Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Nashua S., AQU, Nov. 5.
Next Start: Aiming for GII Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 24
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

A solo half-mile breeze on Sunday in :48.40 (12/86) at Palm Meadows keeps this stout-framed son of Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}) on target for the Mar. 24 GII Louisiana Derby. It is not difficult to envision this push-button stayer relishing every inch of the 1,346-foot Fair Grounds stretch based on his stamina-oriented pedigree. What remain open questions, however, are A) Will he be able to replicate his success outside of New York, where all three of his victories came in short (seven-, six-, and five-horse) fields? And B) Will his cruising speed evolve into a better-honed, more dangerous weapon to enable him to be more of a menacing in-race presence when forcing the issue in stalk mode? One small intangible in Avery Island’s favor for his next race is that jockey Joe Bravo moved his tack to New Orleans this winter, perhaps affording him track-specific insights that could help in the Louisiana Derby.


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.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 5
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: Possible for either GII Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 24 or GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 14

Catholic Boy’s trainer Jonathan Thomas tries to strike a balance between hands-on horse management and data-driven analysis when it comes to assessing his top sophomore. “What I’m seeing in front of me is he’s improving physically,” Thomas said last week when asked about Catholic Boy’s progression following a second-place run in the GIII Sam F. Davis S. “But what I’m seeing numerically, his [speed figure] sheet numbers have consistently gotten stronger, and coming off a 10-week layoff, he ran his lifetime best. We’re seeing a good, methodical improvement on numbers, which I like to see, but he’s also a very generous training horse. Anything you ask him to do, he’s a very willing participant. He’s just intelligent, listens to his riders well, and I think when you get into these tougher races, those details become so much more important. I’m not saying you have to ride him like a turf horse, but I’d like to see him just taken back, get settled, and then get into a good rhythm and just produce a run, because the horse has a turn of foot. And I think if you kind of engage him too early you’re just robbing him of the opportunity to tip out and make a run and finish up strong. That seems to be his style, and I’d like to reinforce that. Hindsight’s 20/20—if I could go back to the Davis, I’d have told Manny [Franco] just to bury him far back, even if it was just second last, and just make one strong run instead of pecking at the pace. It’s hard for horses to do that unless they’re truly grinders, and he’s not a grinder.”


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.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 1
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: Possible for GII Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 7
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 34

Good Magic not only carried jockey Jose Ortiz on his back in Saturday’s GII Fountain of Youth S., but the lightly raced, million-dollar KEESEP colt also had to bear the lofty expectations of being a Breeders’ Cup winner and divisional champion making his highly anticipated seasonal debut, and that has to be factored into any forward-thinking assessment. No, Good Magic did not live up to the burdensome months of off-season hype based on his punchless third as the 7-10 favorite after looking primed to pounce through the first five furlongs of Saturday’s race. But there is plenty for trainer Chard Brown to build upon here over the next two months, and you get the sense that diminished pressure to perform in spectacular fashion could work in this son of Curlin (Smart Strike)’s favor. Over the next few weeks, the fact that Good Magic couldn’t reel in an 18-1 breakaway pacemaker over a traditionally speed-carrying track (with a short-stretch finish) will look more and more like a viable excuse for his subpar try, and my bet is this colt will cycle back into being a “now” horse by the time his next probable start in the Apr. 7 GII Blue Grass S. rolls around. “When it came time to run, I think he just kind of had enough with all the dirt. It’s a new experience for him,” Brown said post-race. “The horse came back a little tired. He was blowing pretty good. It looked like he needed the race. Hopefully, he got what he needed out of it and go on to the next step.”


6) 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
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 6
Last Start: 3rd GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec.9.
Accomplishments Include: 2nd GI Frontrunner S., SA, Sept. 30; 2nd GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, DMR, Nov. 4
Next Start: GII Rebel S., OP, Mar. 17 Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

Trainer Bob Baffert told the Santa Anita press notes team Sunday that he’s decided Solomini will be his Rebel S. representative at Oaklawn Park based off three consecutive bullet workouts at Santa Anita, the most recent a 1:11.40 (1/7) in-company drill Sunday. The placement makes sense from a timing perspective and based on Baffert’s desire to keep A-list candidates McKinzie (who stays home for the San Felipe) and Solomini separated in races for the time being. Zayat Stables no doubt harbors positive vibes for Hot Springs considering the outfit’s eventual Triple Crowner American Pharoah (Pioneeerof the Nile) launched his 2015 campaign there, also in the Rebel. But I have a sneaky feeling this year’s edition is likely to come up as a more difficult than envisioned in two weeks with at least three recent under-the-radar allowance winners from strong stables and a couple of other “On the Bubble” candidates lurking as legit upsetters. Solomini had a star-crossed juvenile campaign in which he mixed it up with some of the division’s heavy hitters despite appearing a little unfocused at times, and he did have his number taken down in a controversial Grade I disqualification. But all of that can be chalked up to “learning experience” if he moves forward off of those 2017 tries and manages to conjure up a powerful performance in the Rebel that sets him up for a higher-seeded assault as the Derby nears.


7) Promises Fulfilled (c, Shackleford-Marquee 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.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 1st GII Fountain of Youth S., GP, Mar. 3.
Next Start: Pointing towards GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
Kentucky Derby Points: 52

This $37,000 KEESEP son of Shackleford (Forestry) sparked a Top 12 debut off an 18-1 wire-to-wire dismantling of the Fountain of Youth field that is best described as an efficient deployment of tactics rather than a blunt-force drubbing. After nimbly and responsively securing the lead from outermost post nine, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. moderated the tempo down the backstretch, quickened into the far turn while bracing for the attack of favorite Good Magic (that never materialized), then stayed on commendably through the short (first finish line) stretch of the 1 1/16 miles Gulfstream configuration. It was the lead-loving chestnut’s first outing since running a better-than-looks third in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. Nov. 25, and he’s now 3-for-4 lifetime with a likely return in the Florida Derby scheduled next. “They let him go in [:48.39] with his ears up, and I knew it was going to take a heck of a horse to pass him at that point,” said trainer Dale Romans. “I think [the 3-year-old picture] is muddy water right now, but it’ll start clearing itself up. This round of preps and the next round are the two where they all come together. Right now there’s nobody just running away from the crop and that makes it exciting.”


8) 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
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 7
Last Start: 1st, GII Holy Bull S., GP, Feb. 3.
Next Start: GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 10

The plot thickened over the weekend for Audible in terms of his attempted parlay of the GII Holy Bull S. and Florida Derby, because we now know that the 1-2 finishers of the Fountain of Youth S. will be similarly aiming for that Mar. 31 stakes. This Todd Pletcher-trained $500,000 FTFMAR son of Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) isn’t a pure needs-the-lead type, but his running style slants toward forward placement, and you’d have to think some form of a fight with wire-to-wire Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled will materialize at some point in the Florida Derby. Audible gave us a good clue that his development arc is going in the right direction when he confidently quickened from stalk mode into a sweet overdrive gear when confronted at the head of the lane in the Holy Bull; it was a deft move that belied his light (four races) seasoning. But a chief concern moving forward is the fact that three well-regarded entrants in the Holy Bull never truly fired their “A” efforts, so it’s hard to tell how much of Audible’s visually impressive performance was attributable to his own skill set versus his being able to capitalize in a race where there were clearly several no-shows. The colt worked a :49.13 half mile (3/26) at Palm Beach Downs Saturday.


9) 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.
Feb. 27 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: Uncommitted
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Instilled Regard.
KY Derby Points: 19

Within this week’s Top 12, Good Magic, Catholic Boy, and Instilled Regard share similarities in that they all started the season seeded higher on this list yet each underwhelmed in their most recent starts. But taking the medium-term view, none of their connections should be in panic mode with regard to prepping for the Derby because they all figure to get one more redemption race, probably at nine furlongs, to solidify both qualifying points status and their respective levels of conditioning. This $1.05 million OBSMAR Arch (Kris S.) colt smoked the Jan. 13 GIII Lecomte S. field in impressive finished-with-authority fashion, and even though he did not replicate that effort when favored and fourth in the GII Risen Star S. a month later, that race as a whole could wind up being a toss-out deviant unless the 21-1 and 41-1 long shots who ran 1-2 prove they’re no flukes in an anticipated Louisiana Derby rematch. As for Instilled Regard, no next-race plans have been publicly disclosed. But he’ll go into his next start off a solid base of four consecutive route races, several of which signaled obvious talent, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will have the benefit of seeing how Saturday’s San Felipe S. at Santa Anita shakes out before plotting a course for his top sophomore’s next prep.


10) FREE DROP BILLY (c, Union RagsTrensa, by Giant’s Causeway)
O-Albaugh Family Stables LLC. B-Helen K. Groves Revokable Trust (KY). T-Dale Romans. Sales history: $200,000 KEESEP yrl ’16. Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-2-3-0, $495,220.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 8
Last Start: 2nd, GII Holy Bull S., GP, Feb. 3.
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Breeders’ Futurity, KEE, Oct.7; 2nd, GI Hopeful S. Sept. 4.
Next Start: GIII Gotham S, AQU, Mar. 10
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

Trainer Dale Romans had three horses entered in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth S. and Free Drop Billy was the one who got redirected onto a different path by scratching the morning of the race. He instead breezed five furlongs in 1:02.55 (28/46) at Gulfstream, and the new plan is to reroute this $200,000 KEESEP Union Rags (Dixie Union) colt to Aqueduct for this Saturday’s one-turn mile GIII Gotham S. “The owner and I made the decision [to scratch],” Romans said. “He’s already a Grade I winner, and we just wanted as easy a race as we can get going into the last round of preps, so we decided to go the New York way. [The Fountain of Youth] looked like it was coming up the toughest of the year, and I think it did [Romans won the race with 18-1 Promises Fulfilled]. It was just a strategy play.” This May 3 foal broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last June, and the win-over-the-track angle could become important eight weeks down the road. But “Billy” is now winless in five months, and needs to produce a resounding race on a weekend that is loaded with chances for other contenders to snag his spot within the Top 12.


11) FLAMEAWAY (c, Scat DaddyVulcan Rose, by Fusaichi Pegasus)
O-John C. Oxley. B-Phoenix Rising Farms (ON). T-Mark Casse. Sales History: $150,000 yrl KEEJAN ’16; $400,000 yrl FTSAUG ’16. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 7-5-0-0, $434,834.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 11
Last Start: 1st, GIII Sam F. Davis S., TAM, Feb. 10
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GIII Dixiana Bourbon S., KEE, Oct. 8; 1st, Kitten’s Joy S., GP, Jan. 6
Next Start: GII Tampa Bay Derby, TAM, Mar. 10
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Flameaway.
KY Derby Points: 10

Pre-race chatter about Saturday’s GII Tampa Bay Derby has been relatively quiet, and I have a suspicion this could wind up being one of those prep stakes that attracts a couple of surprise last-minute “up and comer” entrants by closing time Wednesday. This $400,000 FTSAUG colt ran the race of his life when fending off the well-regarded Catholic Boy in his wire-to-wire Davis S. win, but I don’t think this recently transitioned Scat Daddy (Johannesburg) turfer has progressed to the point yet where he’s scaring off any Tampa Derby rivals. Then again, Tampa is one of those offbeat, sand-based, dirt surfaces that has been known to elicit polarizing responses from horses who either really like or dislike the footing, and when you know a runner like Flameaway gets over it fine, you have to include that as a positive factor in his assessment. In fact, this Mark Casse trainee never seems to “need” a particular type of footing to fire his best shot, as evidenced by his being the only Top 12 contender to have won so far over fast dirt, firm turf, mud, slop, and a synthetic surface. He’s also a nervy front-runner who can handle pace pressure, which adds another dimension to his long-shot appeal when thinking farther down the road to the first Saturday in May.


12) MY BOY JACK (c, Creative CauseGold N Shaft, by Mineshaft)
O-Don’t Tell My Wife Stables & Monomoy Stables LLC. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Keith Desormeaux.
Sales History: $14,000 RNA wlg KEENOV ’15; $20,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GSW, 8-2-3-1, $425,145.
Feb. 27 TDN Top 12 Rank: 12
Last Start: 1st, GIII Southwest S., OP, Feb. 19
Accomplishments Include: 3rd, GIII Sham S., SA, Jan. 6; 1st, Zuma Beach S., SA, Oct. 9
Next Start: Uncommitted
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 12

“Have you news of my boy Jack? When d’you think that he’ll come back?” Those lines are part of the opening stanza of a 1916 Rudyard Kipling poem. Now, a touch more than a century later and in a very different context, they also ask an apt question about the $20,000 KEESEP purchase who snared a breakthrough $500,000 stakes score by rallying from next to last and skimming the rail under quagmire conditions in Oaklawn’s GIII Southwest S. This plucky, late-developing Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) colt relaxed off the bridle in that Feb. 19 try, and that ended up being a subtle clue to his improvement that jockey Kent Desormeaux said he definitely did not do when third behind McKinzie in the Sham S. back in January. It’s true that he’s never won over a fast dirt track or against top-shelf Derby competition. But “Jack” ran a deceptively good seventh in November in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, coming up only three lengths short despite a five-wide run through the lane during which Desormeaux dropped his whip at the eighth pole. Being out of a Mineshaft (A.P. Indy) mare additionally solidifies any misperceptions about My Boy Jack’s stamina, and having the proverbial light bulb go on inside this colt’s head at the right time of year could make for an interesting next few weeks as trainer Keith Desormeaux plots a next-race plan.

On the Bubble (in alphabetical order)

Bravazo (Awesome Again): Lukas-trained 21-1 Risen Star S. upsetter will be in for a tougher battle in the nine-furlong Louisiana Derby.
Combatant (Scat Daddy): Five-eighths Oaklawn breeze was Sunday first work since muddy GIII Southwest S. second; shipper-infused Rebel S. likely next.
Curlin’s Honor (Curlin): Followed Keeneland debut win with Feb. 25 allowance score at Fair Grounds; now 2-for-2 and possibly headed to Oaklawn’s Rebel S. for Casse.
Enticed ( Medaglia d’Oro): Listed by Aqueduct as “possible” for Gotham S.; in search of one-turn mile confidence boost after fourth as beaten Holy Bull S. fave.
Exclamation Point (Concord Point): 2-for-2 off stretch-out OP alw win; GI Arkansas Derby possible. Cox: “Work in progress, nice horse, tons of talent.”
Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior): Servis prior to Gotham: “He doesn’t get much respect…I don’t get it…I think if he’s ridden right, he’ll get a mile and a quarter. But he’s got to get the points first.”
Higher Power (Medaglia d’Oro): 2-for-3, with two route wins, and aiming for Mar. 17 Rebel S. at Oaklawn.
Hollywood Star (Malibu Moon): ‘Rising Star’ been breezing at GP last two weekends. So-so fourth in Davis at Tampa not indicative of his true ability.
Justify (Scat Daddy): Not sure where this ‘Rising Star’ will resurface off commanding debut win, but he’s attracting outsized attention in Vegas future books.
Kanthaka (Jimmy Creed): Will pass on planned trip to New York for Gotham in favor of tangling with tougher in San Felipe over home track at Santa Anita.
Lombo (Graydar): High-energy frontrunner will face far deeper talent pool in San Felipe while riding two-race win wave.
Magnum Moon (Malibu Moon): 2-for-2 ‘Rising Star’ for Pletcher could try Rebel S. for next step on Derby trail.
Marconi (Tapit): Never in it to win it against grain of speed-slanted GP profile. Can’t toss this stamina-oriented ‘Rising Star’ until we see a truer test at nine furlongs over different surface.
Mourinho (Super Saver): ‘Rising Star’ yet to resurface on worktab after arduous mud trip as beaten fave in Southwest S.
New York Central (Tapit): ‘Rising Star’ scored in OP quagmire in the race after the Southwest S.; the GIII Sunland Derby has been mentioned as next-out possibility.
Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy): First breeze at Palm Beach Downs Saturday since this ‘Rising Star’ was third in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.
Quip (Distorted Humor): 2-for-3 ‘Rising Star’ listed Sunday by Aqu as “probable” for Gotham while same-day Tam release lists him as “expected entrant” for Tampa Derby.
Reride ( Candy Ride {Arg}): ‘Rising Star’ now 4-for-5 with stakes wins at Delta and Sunland.
Retirement Fund (Eskendereya): After dead-heat seventh in sloppy Southwest, ‘Rising Star’ might try to get back on track at FG (where he’s 2-for-2) in Louisiana Derby.
Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway): Been working in company recently with Solomini for Baffert for what figures to be an eventual stakes start.
Snapper Sinclair (City Zip): Breezed Monday at FG in prep for likely Louisiana Derby start; won’t be 41-1 this time around.
Sporting Chance (Tiznow): GI Hopeful S. winner encountered trouble, but was tiring in stretch, off six-month Southwest S. layoff. A tighter colt in Rebel could be intriguing.
Storm Runner (Get Stormy): Checked when attempting tight rail run on backstretch of Fountain of Youth and retreated thereafter.
Strike Power (Speightstown): ‘Rising Star’ was commendable second in two-turn Fountain of Youth debut; Florida Derby a possible next target.
Sumahama (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}): Early speed, stamina pedigree, but after earning Japanese series points to qualify a Derby berth, he’s still not Triple Crown nominated.
Tiz Mischief (Into Mischief): Could be sleeper in Saturday’s Tampa Derby; one of numerous highly ranked sophomore hopefuls who didn’t fire a big shot in his 2018 debut.
Untamed Domain (Animal Kingdom): West Point turf GSW has now breezed twice over Tampa dirt in prep for Tampa Derby start.
Vino Rosso (Curlin): He galloped out past top two in Davis S. and appears to be winding up for crackerjack effort in Tampa Derby. If other speed softens Flameaway, look out.
Zing Zang (Tapit): $300K KEESEP colt breezed Sunday at Oaklawn with Rebel S. as next likely target for Asmussen.