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.

The HRI Derby Ten, Week 5

Saratoga Springs, NY, March 10, 2009--Two performances; one impressive, the other not so much, shook things up in a big way in Week 4 of the HRI Derby Ten Power Rankings.

But it was nowhere near as much as the cauldron will bubble this weekend, the first true Super Saturday for American racing’s glamour division. Thursday also marks the debut of Derby Exacta Futures, during the second of three Futures weekends.

The comprehensive victory of I Want Revenge outside California and on dirt for the first time in the Gotham Stakes thrust him onto the national stage, buoyed the reputations of all the serious West Coast-based three year-olds and might have tilted the Derby power base in that direction.

However, while the champion filly Stardom Bound showed tremendous heart to win the Santa Anita Oaks for her fifth straight Grade 1 victory, she ran herself out of the Santa Anita Derby. In two starts this year she hasn’t shown the usual development from 2 to 3.

Consequently, Stardom Bound might be the first horse in the history of Derby polling to courageously win a race at the Grade 1 level and take herself out of consideration for America’s most glamorous equine event.

Resultantly, she’s been dropped from the Week 5 edition of the HRI Derby Ten which features three new shooters: the aforementioned I Want Revenge (5), Theregoesjojo (8) and Imperial Council (9).

This coming weekend will be big fun and hopefully illuminating, too. With graded events at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita and Tampa Bay Downs, expect all polls to change radically next week.

Watch attentively and carry a fat wallet.

The place where no one is expecting change is at the very top, where the consensus exacta of Old Fashioned and Pioneerof The Nile is expected to continue its dominant role.

So top-heavy will they be in the wagering that a winning parlay would pay scantly more than even money. That’s dominance, and the reason why the racing’s gods invented exactas in the first place.

The HRI Derby Ten, Week 5

1-Old Fashioned (36): Makes his second start of the year and remains on a relatively light training schedule, Larry Jones wanting to make sure the tank is full seven weeks from Saturday. “Haven’t needed to do a lot with him,” Jones said on a national conference call yesterday. “He’s in the right frame of mind, knows what he has to do.”

2-Pioneerof The Nile (25): It may not appear that Bob Baffert has backed off his talented colt, if five furlongs in :58.8 is any measure, but Baffert’s been to this dance before. “Really nice,” is what the Hall of Fame nominee said after the work. Really nice talent, too. The prohibitive San Felipe favorite.

3-The Pamplemousse (18): I Want Revenge sure moved this guy up in everyone’s mind, although it should be noted that he handled Pro-Ride well while Jeff Mullins’ colt got his revenge after shipping out of town. A big, strong, high-cruising galloper, will he still be crushing them all like grapefruits when he leaves SoCal?

3-Friesan Fire (18): Attempting a sweep of the New Orleans road to Louisville. “[At first] he wanted to be a herd animal and play with the other guys, but with blinkers he wants to be top dog. He really tipped his hand [in a bullet workout] yesterday,” added Jones. “Looks like we might be on a teeter totter with him,” a reference to concerns about his colt peaking too soon.

5-I Want Revenge (16): Went from relative obscurity to the top five of most Derby ratings, such was his monumental Gotham effort. Tries the Big A main track next in the longer Wood, a circumference he’ll like even better believes Jeff Mullins. Pool 1 Futures odds of 54-1 on a dosage dual qualifier looks like a bargain.

6-Desert Party (14): Won the U.A.E. 2000 Guineas with authority and has Derby style. Runs next in the UAE Derby, March 28. Has pedigree, the ability to handle different surfaces, and foundation as a graded stakes winner at 2. Given the timing of the UAE Derby, likely will be trained up to the Roses Run to become the first Middle East-prepared winner of the Derby. More infidels than believers.

7-Quality Road (12): The Gotham blowout by I Want Revenge is not keeping Jimmy Jerkens from shipping to the Wood. On Gotham eve Jerkens announced he would remain at Palm Meadows and run the colt back in the Florida Derby. If Indian Blessing ships to Dubai March 28, jockey John Velazquez will not be available. They’ll be no shortage of applicants.

8-Dunkirk (8): We know that Garrett Gomez, who rides the San Felipe favorite Saturday, loves him, and that trainer Todd Pletcher has his entire Florida-based operation firing on all cylinders. The lightly seasoned undefeated runner had a recent purposeful workout and is on schedule for the Florida Derby, coming up big per usual.

9-Theregoesjojo (4): Jerkens is not alone in his choice of the Florida Derby. Ken McPeek also recently announced he will remain in South Florida for the next step. ‘Jojo’ displayed an electric turn of foot when a good second in the Fountain of Youth and now, like Quality Road, must answer the two-turn question.

10-Hello Broadway (2): If there’s another horse in South Florida training better than this guy we don’t know who it might be. He, too, will be subjected to the two-turn test in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby. Barclay Tagg said it will take a very good effort in Tampa in order to move on to the Grade 1 Wood. The road to glory is not easy, nor should it be.

Written by John Pricci - Comments (0)


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