Dortmund: While tops on most lists this big strapping son of Big Brown made tops on ours back in November following his debut. He’s done nothing wrong to date and his progression has been slow and steady alleviating any too fast too soon or bounce concerns. His pedigree is not ideal for the 11/4 miles but is good enough and in today’s game we see more and more horses outrun pedigree. He’s big, strong, fast and game.
Bolo: This is another horse we have been high on since last November. Another big and strong colt although this one has a pedigree well suited for the Derby distance. We were concerned when Mike Smith opted for Ocho Ocho Ocho but he winds back up on Bolo now and that can only help. In his first dirt try Bolo ran a good third to Dortmund and looked to get a nice education out of the race. He looks like a horse well suited to the Derby conditions.
Prospect Park: Kent Desormeaux did an obvious and beautiful job prepping and educating this colt in the San Felipe. He weaved him through the field and rallied while leaving plenty in the tank for another big forward move. The horse has a high climbing type of action but can run. We should see significant improvement in The Santa Anita Derby stamping a ticket to Louisville with a real chance.
Carpe Diem: Felt this was Todd Pletcher’s best chance back when the masses were touting and hyping Daredevil who never looked like a Derby horse to me. The winter he spent at Winstar Farm did him good and he comes in fresh and ready for Pletcher’s hard cranking program. The Tampa Bay Derby season debut was perfect over a heavy tiring track that will help leg him up and negate only having two preps.
Dubai Sky: Intriguing prospect from Bill Mott who is still looking for that first Kentucky Derby win. This well bred colt has shown his liking for distance since day one and if he can transfer his grass and synthetic form to dirt, which at the 2015 Kentucky Derby we suspect he can then he becomes one very live colt. He is getting good at the right time
American Pharoah: The top pick for many is obviously fast, talented, and very well hyped. His three year old debut in The Rebel was little more than a paid work in the slop. The Arkansas Derby figures to be more of the same. He will likely face a different pace and race scenario on the first Saturday in May and the only concern is if he’ll have enough bottom to him off those two races. Once again Zayat comes to the big dance loaded and ready. If he gets out clear at Churchill he will be awfully dangerous and hard to feel in.
Materiality: Late in coming around and has Apollo jinx to deal with but talented.
Gorgeous Bird: Through a dud in Florida when he looked like a serious up and comer. Not giving up on him entirely just yet.
Frammento: Slow and steady improvement for this Nick Zito trained colt who we have been watching all winter.
Upstart: Never looked like a 2015 Kentucky Derby horse to me and looked tired in both The Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.
Firing Line: Talented and fast but not 11/4 miles Derby material.
International Star: Wouldn’t be a total shock but looks like someone had to be better than him come Derby day.
War Story: Eligible to improve but will have to significantly. Very significantly.
Mubtaahij: Will likely need some US and top company experience to show his best.
Mr. Z: Fast, consistent and honest, just needs more winning ways to get the roses.
We’ll be watching the final preps and all the training leading up to the race closely. We hope to go in with three final horses on our radar. One top choice and two right underneath him.