HRI's Triple Crown Power Rankings

The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings is a consensus opinion of HorseRaceInsider's editorial staff compiled and written by executive editor John Pricci. It is an amalgam of achievement and opinion relative to the merits of the 2013 Triple Crown. The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings will be adjusted each week following significant prep race developments.

HRI Derby Power 10: Bob’s World

By John Pricci

Some terrific performances over the holiday weekend had an impact on the 2019 debut edition of HRI’s Derby Power 10, namely War of Will solidifying his position near the top of this year’s Derby class.

But no performance was good enough to dislodge the Baffert exacta at the top; juvenile champion Game Winner, yet to make his sophomore debut, and the undefeated Improbable, from the same team that brought you the 2018 Triple Crown-winning Horse of the Year.

The Big Three and a sensational maiden winner that might prove better than all his peers has helped set the table for the HRI Derby Power 10, now in its 13th year.

The debut edition might not be all it could be as contributing writer Indulto is dealing with family health issues at home. It is hoped that this, too, shall pass.

HRI Derby Power 10, Week 1

1--Game Winner (36) Champion has everyone fretting over his workouts. We’ve seen three; the first was clearly underwhelming, he switched to his left lead at the wire of his and drifted a few strides in his second and his third was better but he didn’t appear to give when he wasn’t being asked—the gallop out was OK. No one should panic until after his San Felipe debut. The real deal--at 100%.

2--Improbable (21)
Alas, there’s nothing more exciting than an undefeated three-year-old on the Classics trail. His morning trials have been better than his more accomplished mate but not so as to have a May preference at this early stage. But he has, as Joe Hirsch would have written, a lovely way of going and is quite generous. Distance progression is noteworthy and has plenty of bottom-side pedigree.

3--War of Will (20)
How won the country’ first win-and-in Derby qualifier Saturday at Fair Grounds, taking the 50-point G2 Risen Star with authority after using his gifted speed to establish stalking position from his wide-outside draw. If I were to nitpick he was a little too keen for my liking down the backstretch but loves the way he separates himself—a speed/stalker type that can finish. Has all the tools.

4--Hidden Scroll (14) It was but a single maiden win over a speed-favoring wet track but oh what a debut it was! The question is whether it was too good. Winning by 14 lengths at a mile on debut is wonderful; earning a Thoro-Graph figure of negative -2 is not. After all, where does one go from there? He would need to be the second coming of Secretariat to keep this act up. Maybe he is. By Hard Spun from an Empire Maker mare, his pedigree won’t stop him.

5--Global Campaign (11) Bold D’Oro’s Revenge? Well, this half-brother to a near juvenile champion of 2017 is extremely talented, winning his two-turn debut with authority, defeating a Grade 1-placed rival, remaining unbeaten in two starts. The recently un-retired gifted horseman Stanley Hough tightens the girth. He made a talented, seasoned three-year-old look ordinary in his second. At the moment, his future seems boundless.

5--Mucho Gusto (11)
With the exception of his placing behind Improbable in the G1 Los Al Futurity, he’s a perfect 3-for-3, including a drubbing of Gunmetal Gray in the recent Lewis Memorial. He gets his brilliance from the Mucho Macho Man side of the family and stamina as the grandson of Giant’s Causeway. A negative? He has faced 19 rivals in a four race career, the exact number he will line up against in May.

7—Signalman (9) has a laudable blend of experience and talent while performing at the highest levels. A 7-furlong maiden winner at Saratoga he was second to the speedy Knicks Go in Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity and third against track dynamics from his wide draw in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before winning the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club in his season finale. Gulfstream’s G2 Fountain of Youth on MAR 2 is the target.

8--Gunmetal Gray (8)
Jerry Hollendorfer has done excellent work stretching him out, breaking maiden in second start around two turns at Del Mar. He’s never lost given that dynamic—providing he wasn’t up against a Baffert trainee, losing twice to Game Winner and once to Mucho Gusto. Only non-competitive run was over Churchill’s quirky Breeders’ Cup day surface. In all probability, Derby trip likely will work against him.

9--Mucho (7)
has been absent since last summer when he was visually impressive at Saratoga. Has not been around two turns but this is Bill Mott we’re talking about here, the best trainer not to have won the Derby. But the Hall of Famer has changed his modus operandi and is having fun with younger horses these days. See Hidden Scroll at #4.

9--Bourbon War (7) After breaking maiden going one mile in rescheduled dirt debut, as faced with difficult dynamics when thrown into Remsen, finishing fourth, then showed lots of class to knife his way between rivals in his season’s debut rounding two turns at Gulfstream in a highly competitive NX1 optional allowances. By Tapit from G1-winning My Conquestadory should have all the pedigree required.


Kentucky Wildcat (6) Mind Control (4) Sueno (3) Tax (2) Win Win Win (2) Harvey Wallbanger (2) Anothertwistafate (1)

Power Ratings: 12 points for first place vote, 9 for second, 8 for third…

©John Pricci, HorseRaceInsider,FEB 19, 2019

Written by John Pricci - Comments (10)


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