We find ourselves just nine weeks out from Derby Day 2011 and the posting of the Wireplayers.com Derby Dozen Part III. In case you're wondering, my number one pick at this point in the game is Soldat. Yeah, I know no Fountain of Youth winner has won the Derby since Thunder Gulch in 1995, but as each Derby Dozen list is created, I favor those that have run over those that have yet to...Uncle Mo included. There is just so much that can and usually does go wrong with maturing three-year-olds that those that are already on the road by racing get a big thumbs up here!
The Gotham Stakes provides us for our Derby Dark Horse Candidate. The Big-A feature pits the top two morning line choices and a good test case for my preference of a colt who has run a couple of times in 201l vs. a highly considered two-year-old coming off the bench.
Stay Thirsty works out with the current Derby favorite, Uncle Mo. While Stay Thirsty has followed his more accomplished stable mate through several early morning works, this will be his first start of his three-year-old season. Last year he won a six furlong maiden sprint and finished behind Boys of Tosconova in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes at the Spa. He finished the year with a third place finish in the Juvenile.
Meanwhile, Toby's Corner has been slowly and successfully progressing this year winning both of his starts including the Whirlway Stakes last month - a race in which he came from last to first in the slop while also overcoming a slow pace. He is trained by Graham Motion and sired by Wood winner Bellamy Road - who earned like a 200 Beyer speed figure for the Wood win.
Just as I did in last week's Fountain of Youth Stakes, in which I took the recently and successfully running, Soldat, over the more highly touted To Honor and Serve, making his first start back off two stakes wins as a two-year-old, I will take Toby's Corner as today's Dark Horse.