Though there is a lot of great racing going on, I am focusing on Derby/Oaks hopefuls. This year we have one of the best crops of 3 yr. olds we have seen in years. My Top Ten Derby picks are as follows:
2. American Pharoah
3. Carpe Diem
4. Far from Over – out injured -replaced with Materially
5. International Star
7. Texas Red – out injured – replaced with Mubtaahij
8. Ocho Ocho Ocho
9. El Kabeir
10. Far Right
1. Dortmund – I was fortunate to see Dortmund in his first race, which happened to be the day after the Breeders Cup. His bullet works made him a huge favorite, but fast works don’t always mean the horse will race well. But one look was all it took – he took my breath away. He is a BEAST and he has that aura, some call the “it” factor, of greatness. Though breaking poorly, he muscled and powered his way to an easy win. He won his next two starts – each time looking more polished – but it was in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes showed he was not just a fast horse, but a true competitor. He was passed by Firing Line in the stretch, looked like he was beat, but refused to give up. He kicked into another gear and with his 26 ft. stride, passed Firing Line and won. After that race a friend of mine called him a “ sleeping giant”, I could not agree more and it is exciting to watch him “ waking up”. He is still unbeaten, and if he can make it through the Derby-he is my Triple Crown pick – I think he will have no problem with the Belmont distance. My fingers are crossed that he stays healthy!
2. American Pharoah- Regal is the best way to describe this horse – he is an elegant, effortless mover, a vision of beauty to watch. Like a fine wine Pharoah showed all in The Rebel – his first start at 3 yr. – that he has improved with age. Magnificent!! He is the real deal without a doubt!
3. Carpe Diem- A beautiful, powerful horse with undeniable talent. He can be a little fractious which can use up energy. But if they can keep him contained and focused –watch out.
4. Materially – First start was at 3 yr. – and he is 3 for 3, including an impressive win in the Florida Derby. Powerful improving horse a strong prospect.
5. International Star- A talented horse that has improved with every race and is unbeaten as 3 yr. old. He is one of my sentimental favorites, owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey who are passionate about their horses and their love of horses. I would enjoy seeing them in the winner’s circle May 2.
6. Upstart – Another talented improving horse- he has shown greatness and with right trip he can be there at the finish.
7. Mubtaahij – An Irish-bred beauty that is 2 for 2 including the UAE Derby – it looked like a stroll in the park for him without changing leads in the stretch.
8. Ocho Ocho Ocho – Unbeaten in 3 starts as a 2yr. old - showed improvement every race. I think you have to throw out his first start as a 3 yr. on March 7. He had a rough trip with that ended with lacerations on both front legs. It is reported he is heading for the Santa Anita Derby- I am waiting to see if he makes the jump forward.
9. El Kabeir- Always a talent – but made a change in racing style in the Gotham, clearly a big step forward. His previous starts he was at or close to lead, in the Gotham he came from next to last to winning by 2 ¾. Another to watch in their next start.
10. Far Right – Seems to have found his way as a 3 yr. – 2 for 2. Another sentimental favorite – he sold for $2,500 in 2013 Keeneland sale! Wow!