Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Early Derby Top Ten

Breeders Cup is over, all that is really left to run are the big name, winter two year old races, and I for one have grown tired of reading about the who should be Horse of the Year, and the insults slung around by either party. So, in light of the year coming to a close and a new racing season about to begin I decided to give you my Derby Top Ten as of now.

1.) Lookin At Lucky- A very talented and smart horse who does only what it takes to win, yet is also not afraid to get down and fight like a lion when challenged. He was four for four coming into this year's Juvenile but got nipped at the wire after experiencing a horrendous trip.

2.) Buddy's Saint- Was second in his career debut before being thrust into stakes competition where he crushed both the Nashua and Remsen fields. In the Remsen he beat the highly regarded Homeboykris, and even though some may argue that his time was very slow I am not worried due to the fact the Big A has not been producing fast times all meet and Buddy's Saint was being geared down nearing the wire.

3.) Super Saver- The worse finish he ever had was a lackluster fourth in the Champagne Stakes. He then rebounded in the Kentucky Jockey Club to beat two very good horses in Thiskyhasnolimit and William's Kitten.

4.) Jackson Bend-He has only been beaten once and since then he has been as good as gold, sweeping the Florida Stallion Series. He has been kept hidden away at Calder, where some may say that he only looks good because the competition down there is not so hot. I would counter that he has beaten one of the best know names in the game, D'Funnybone, who will likely turn out to be a fantastic sprinter/miler.

5.) American Lion- This attractive and well bred colt is about as green as they come, but he is also probably one of the most naturally talented two year olds this year. He broke his maiden at second asking before running in the Hollywood Prevue, where he took some time to get in gear, but once he did he made the lead easily. He was almost caught at the wire because he started to let up, if he can learn to focus a bit he'll be a huge threat next year.

6.) Backtalk- Smarty Jones colt went unbeaten in his first three starts before running two uncharacteristically bad race, one excusable since it was his first over a synthetic surface. He may have already peaked, but has show the capability to be a fantastic runner. He also has won his only two starts at Churchill downs which could bode well for him.

7.) Discreetly Mine- Has tons of talent but just can't seem to get to the wire first. He has had some run-ins with some pretty good horses like D'Funnybone, at his preferred distance, and Homeboykris. He just needs to reach that one last step before he catapults himself to the top of the division.

8.) Interactif- Yes, as a two year old he was turf star, but his maiden win was over the dirt and he was only switched when he threw in an eighth place finish in the Sanford. He is incredibly talented, and possibly to talented for his owners and Todd Pletcher not to give him a second try over the dirt.

9.) Aspire- His only bad race was a 12th place finish over the Pro-Ride. Other than that he has been as consistent and honest as one can hope for. He won his maiden before running second and third in the Hopeful and Champagne Stakes.

10.) Winslow Homer- Here is a name I'll bet you haven't heard yet. He broke his maiden at second asking, crushing his opponents there and doing so again by 12 1/4 lengths in an allowance race. His sire is Unbridled Song, who is know for siring brilliant yet fragile foals. If this colt can keep sound he'll be a major player for the roses.

So, do you have a top ten or maybe only a top five? I know it's early, but it's still fun to try and handicap the impossible.


  1. Nice list LDP, My top five are the same in a different order. I like all in your list as well as Aikenite, Noble's Promise, Thiskyhasnolimit & Vale of York. Let the Derby talk begin!

  2. I can't give a list just yet, or a specific order (Zipse and you are overloading us today on lists!)

    But I did want to say that I really hope that Backtalk can do more to perk up Smarty Jones's value as a stallion. I don't like seeing the Spectacular Bids and Silver Charm stud careers. I want them all to be Seattle Slew's!

    Super Saver- I was just talking the other day about Todd Pletcher throwing some more rides Calvin's way. Immediately following that post Super Saver and Calvin got their win, and Calvin's ride on him got some good reviews. Street Sense-Super Saver??? To this underqualified pedigree enthusiast Super Saver's pedigree is AWESOME!!! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    Saint Liam. Gone. This gives Buddy's Saint the "Win one for Dad" vote. I can see the Derby pre-show now.

    Lookin At Lucky. Baffert is so good. I never expected Pioneer Of The Nile to make 2nd, although he had always showed up in every race at that point.

    I guess I made a bit of a list anyways. Winslow Homer, named for the author of the poem or song "Eight Belles"? Would love to have an Unbridled's Song make it all the way through the trail.

    By the way, I wonder when Dunkirk will be back? Did you know that his 1/2 sibling by Dynaformer (durability) sold for a measly $80,000 to a Russian buyer? I read it over at Sid Fernando's blog. That was another plug for the benefit of all. Sid has enough blogger and tweet friends around the globe that he is breaking stories before anyone. Some of his articles are in the Racing Post, the UK's version of the DRF.

  3. Nice list, Dani and I've already become a fan of several you have. I admit to not paying much attention yet to Aspire and Winslow Homer, but I'll watch for them. As the other races wind down and we hear daily about new retirees, it's wonderful to have something to look forward to in the spring.

  4. Celeste,
    Aspire is kind of off the radar, since he has yet to actually win anthing big. Winslow Homer has won no more than an allowence, though he looks very talented. It's not bad for you not to really hear of them, since their names have yet to make any big headlines.