My favorite part of Kentucky Derby season is following Steve Haskin’s Derby Dozen. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this year I’ll be creating a similar column and following the 3yo colts for the URC Derby. Should fortune favor one of these colts they might find themselves in the Bluegrass Derby, and if not, they will aspire to vie for the URC crown.
- KIM THE ANIMAL (Animal Kingdom x Summer Squall) Trained by kimugle, Kim has never been off the board in 8 starts. He’s plenty fast with three straight SP in the 90s including a 96 and 97 most recently in graded company which included a 3rd place finish in the Movieland Futurity. He won three straight from June to September as a 2yo, and while he’s riding a 3 race losing streak he’s been on the board as competition has stiffened. He’s #23 ranked so is sitting just outside of Bluegrass qualification right now. Kim will have the stakes points to go wherever kimugle wishes to send him. A strong favorite in the top spot he’s already ahead leaving many to play catch up.
- HERITAGE HOUSE (Flatter x Sunday Silence) Trained by johnk, he also has never missed the board in four career starts picking up three wins. Scored his first stakes victory last time out in the Kentucky Juvenile. He’s 2-2 in routes and seems primed to run all day with Damascus as his DDS. Heritage House has the second-lowest top SP in the dozen with an 89, but with only 4 starts under him, I don’t think that an issue yet, especially considering his last two have been wins. A jump into the mid-90s wouldn’t be a surprise in his next outing.
- RUNNING WITH BETO (Constitution x Galileo) trained by waremblem, the colt looks to have more longevity than his namesake. Like Heritage House, Beto has won his last two and while the last win here came in an allowance not stakes, Beto has flashed two straight fast times recording a 91 and a 95. Constitution colts look loaded with precociousness and the upward trend going 91 to 95 and 2-2 in routes is undeniably draft sexy. Comes from the G1 winning mare War Witch who has produced two stakes winners, including a G2. Will test stakes company for the first time next race and should he succeed while maintaining or building upon his fast SP foundation he’ll be one to watch.
- IMBIL BALEEN (Maclean’s Music x Giant’s Causeway) trained by kymar he posted his career-high 94 SP last race jumping up 11 points after extended out to 8.5 furlongs. He won easily by 2 in his first attempt over a mile revealing tantalizing potential. First time winner at 6, he seems to have found the right distance and could have a bright future should he continue to build upon this foundation. Is scheduled to run in the BC Stakes next on 2/15.
- DRACONOMICON (Empire Maker x A.P. Indy) trained by waremblem, a son of the recently departed Empire Maker he has the pedigree in spades hailing from the G2 winning millionaire Takhisis. Looked like a superstar in the making when he won the Sword of Light as a 2yo at 7.5f which made him the morning favorite in the Del Mar Futurity. Either the 7 furlongs or G1 competition did him and a resulting 10th place finish took off quite a bit of luster. Followed up the 10th with a 9th in a G3 and it looked like he was finished until he debuted in 2020 with a runaway 3+ length win in an open allowance. Which Draconomicon will show up in the Risen Star?
- KYMARD PERSAV (Stratford Hill x Super Saver) trained by kymar I’m going on a limb here and riding a hunch. He comes off an allowance win where he posted a 94 SP. This was his second straight run at 8.5 furlongs and he jumped 11 points in this race. That suggests to me that he has a foundation in place and is ready to take off. The pedigree isn’t the sexiest but he has the makings of a tough gelding who can battle. Is going to face allowance company again next time out for further seasoning.
- HAASHIM (Casino Drive x Broken Vow) trained by johnk although the pedigree may suggest sprinting, this colt just won at 9 furlongs, albeit in a HOT race. Haashim has won 4 of 5 starts with a high SP of 95 which suggests he should be ranked higher, however, all 4 of those wins have come in HOT races making it problematic in assessing how the horse will fare against stiffer competition. His lone non-HOT race was the URC BC Juvy where he finished 9th. Questions abound concerning how talented this horse really is. I’ve taken a wait and see approach placing him in the middle of the list.
- REBEL CAVALRY (Constitution x Curlin) trained by waremblem is the second of my Constitution hopefuls. After breaking his maiden at first asking he has shown steady progression getting faster in every subsequent race. Opened 2020 with a hand-ride 8.25 allowance win where he was up by 6 1/2 lengths at one point. Finished a closing 4th in his one attempt at stakes company which was the only time he’s missed the board. He’ll test himself against black-type horses again next out in the Wally’s Count Dirt Mile 2/15.
- IMBIL HAJUN (Exaggerator x Candy Ride) trained by kyamar he is both the slowest on paper and the least raced, with three starts in the field. Because he only has three starts I’m not concerned that 88 is his top SP. After losing his debut in a sprint, he’s won his last two going first 8 then 9. At 9 he won by almost 3 so that 88 could well have been a 92-93. Strong pedigree and a load of potential to improve. He’ll run next in the Oklahoma Stakes on 2/21.
- MYSTICAL SEANCE (Good Magic x Ghostzapper) trained by worldclass just broke his maiden with a notice-me please 93 SP. Only three starts under his belt he is another who is showing an extremely promising improvement pattern going 74-83-93. He’s scheduled to run in an allowance next and if he shows further improvement with a win he’ll have as much potential as anyone to rise to the top here. While it is difficult for colts to get to the Derby when they break their maidens as 3yos, as the undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify proved, anything is possible if you are good enough.
- STRAIGHT TODA MOON (Malibu Moon x City Zip) trained by metallinut is the only filly on the list and while she has a lot of work to do in order to stay here, the sexy pedigree and 93 SP maiden win last out have her holding down a spot for now. She has excellent speed and gets out in front of the field daring them to come and get her. 76-87-93 improvement trend is a further bonus. While ultimately, the Oaks may be more likely, it is January and nothing is impossible when you’re dreaming about Roses.
- DETRACT (Curlin x War Chant) trained by robd is the only graded winner in the field so far pulling down the G3 Faber College Juvenile back in June. He has potential distance issues that keep him near the bottom of the dozen until he proves he can go longer than a mile. Has 4 wins from 7 starts in sprints and is 0-1 at a mile. Longest win is 6.5 furlongs right now. Robd took the major step of gelding the G3 winning Curlin son right before 2020. Will this gamble pay off? Next start in a route will paint a clearer picture.
Knocking on the Door – We have a host of horses lingering around the dozen who could easily join the top 12 with a big race (or disappear from the trail with a clumsy effort). Johnk has Alamzeb (5 for 6, 88 SP), Divisidario ( 2 for 2), and Ballyclare (also 2 for 2). Imbil Bonzai for kymar (1st in ALW last out goes in Florida Stakes 2/14). Worldclass has Hot Wattage (89 1st in ALW last out), Golden Tapas (0-1 maiden but debuted with a 90), and Spell Grammar (great pedigree for Pioneerof the Nile son but a setback 3rd in ALW). Metallinut is training Long Gone River (94 SP MSW winner) and Khaliwaki (3 wins, 88 1st in ALW last out). Robd is sending out many Curlins including Triple Tide and Dyonisus along with Just Wild and Forest Costa (1st in ALW 93 SP). Waremblem has hopes for Cyaxares (96 SP in G3 effort), Antarctika (hard-luck loser with two straight 92+), Assamite (1st in ALW 87 SP), Diabolus Exmachina (1st in ALW 87 SP), Malfador (3 race Candy Ride 89 2nd in ALW).