Derby Trail – by Greg Wolf

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Once the winner crosses the wire in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, it’s never too early to start getting excited about the following year’s Kentucky Derby contenders. The problem for all the contenders right now is that they’re all chasing the horse who won the Juvenile. Uncle Mo has been a beast. His Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win was arguably the most impressive over Breeders’ Cup weekend. Connections Todd Pletcher and Repole Stable have mapped out a path of least resistance: two starts, beginning with the Tampa Bay Derby. They know what they have with Mo, earnings aren’t an issue, so getting him to the starting gate the first Saturday in May is the top priority. So who follows Uncle Mo? Many would argue the horse who chased him in the Breeders’ Cup, Boys at Tosconova. I’m concerned with his ability to stay a 1 ¼, being a son of Officer … so I’m taking a ‘wait and see’ approach as to how he develops. To Honor and Serve – here’s a son of Bernardini who is a looker. He romped in his maiden win … and went on to win the Remsen. He’s currently on a 3-race win streak. Bob Baffert will again be in the Derby picture after The Factor romped to a track record of sub 1:07 his second time out. Freakish performance – even if the new dirt track at Santa Anita is producing crazy quick times. Rogue Romance, despite being a long way back in the BC Juvenile , can continue to develop. Loved the way he won the Bourbon at Keeneland – overcoming trouble. He seems to take his track with him, and for now, seems remarkably consistent. Jaycito – a rugged trip in the Breeders’ Cup, so dirt is still a question mark with this one. But the way he won the Norfolk – he’s ultra talented. Tapizar is another contender at this stage of the game after what he showed in his maiden win and G3 Sham score. The son of Tapit broke his maiden by ten, only to follow it up with a four length score in a graded stake in Southern California. Distance should be no problem. I’m very excited to see how Brethren continues to move forward for Pletcher. He’s 2-2 so far. A ½ brother to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, , 1 ¼ should not be a problem. Frankel– had to give this colt a mention. He is very likely the most talented 3 year old of the crop– including Uncle Mo. Unfortunately we’ll likely never to get to find that out against the stateside crop. He’s undefeated, has shown a tremendous turn of foot and grit. But his connections will likely pass on Churchill and instead go after the 2000 Guineas. There’s a quick glance at a few contenders for now. But it’s very early in the game … a few weeks from now could change everything.


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