I see today simply as an affirmation of leading contenders like:
- I Want Revenge in the Wood Memorial
- The Pamplemousse and Pioneerof the Nile in the Santa Anita Derby
- Giant Oak in the Illinois Derby
Now, there a few horses running today with a win or top three showing that can crack the all important top 19 Kentucky Derby earnings list. (The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters, but with the Kempton Challenge win-and-your-in candidate, Mafaaz, pointing toward Churchill, there's 19 remaining spots).
Among those vying, which I think will fall short, are:
- Imperial Council ran second to I Want Revenge last time out. Problem is he started the stretch run and ended the race 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner. I don't see how that qualifies as a "strong move." He only beats the top choice in today's Wood, if I Want Revenge bounces hard.
- Chocolate Candy has taken the overland, northern California route winning back-to-back stakes at Golden Gate. As a two-year-old, he even finished close behind Pioneerof the Nile and I Want Revenge in the Cash Call Futurity. He probably has enough graded earnings to get into the Derby starting gate, but a top showing in the Santa Anita Derby is needed for real contention. I just don't see him getting by the top two choices.
- If Giant Oak finds trouble...again or just doesn't fire, there are a whole host of long shot choices that could find themselves in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May - at odds of 50-1 or greater, I might add. A Grade II ranking might be high for this race which has produced just one Derby winner in recent memory - War Emblem.