HRI Derby Power Rankings
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War Pass
Tampa Bay Derby 3/15

Commentary:For Nick Zito’s juvenile champion, it’s all about the numbers. Start with 5-for-5, 22-length combined victory margins, and the second highest Equiform juvenile figure since 1991. While his dosage index doesn’t qualify, there’s enough anecdotal evidence in his pedigree to indicate distance aptitude. Sire Cherokee Run was second in the Preakness but never has sired at 10-furlong graded winner. The use of “rabbits” by rivals notwithstanding, run with him at your peril--if you can.

Louisiana Derby 3/8

Three weeks later and his Risen Star is still the Derby buzz. A son of Pulpit and grandson of stamina influence A.P. Indy, he overcame a slow pace and difficult trip with brilliant handling from Shaun Bridgmohan. Steve Asmussen trainee beat solid stock in the Risen Star with no overexertion from a figures perspective, and he’s expected to move forward in what should be a very competitive Louisiana Derby. He’s got Derby style and a win over the Churchill track, but is 0-for-3 versus the champ.

Denis Of Cork
Rebel Stakes 3/15

Three starts, three states, three tracks, three wins, one more impressive than the next, especially considering he’s never even worked well on a wet track. The Grade 3 Southwest was important because the colt was light on experience, had no graded earnings, was meeting solid stock for the first time, and had to rally from far back over a speed-kind surface where mile races end at the sixteenth pole. Trainer David Carroll always wanted Robby Albarado on the colt and now he‘s got him. Sky seems the limit.

El Gato Malo
Sham Stakes 3/1

Three starts, three wins, all by daylight, none on dirt. Craig Dollase has managed him brilliantly and the horse has performed similarly. By El Corredor, Saturday’s 9-furlong Sham Stakes might tell much of what we need to know about his distance aptitude, since his dosage index does not equate to Derby success. Our best guess concerning the ability of any colt campaigned exclusively on synthetic California tracks is that the concern is overrated. On balance, most horses have adapted nicely going from synthetic to dirt surfaces.

Colonel John
Sham Stakes 3/1

Never worse than second in four career starts including a game, tough trip, strong-finish placing in the G1 Cash Call Futurity, the son of Tiznow, from a Turkoman mare, owns the pedigree and style to become a serious Derby colt. Compromised somewhat in his training by the wet Southern California winter, he likely will not be at tops for Saturday’s Sham, shaping up as a competitive 9 furlongs. He, too, has not run on dirt. Corey Nakatani has ridden him like he owns the Eoin Harty-trained colt.

Cool Coal Man
Florida Derby 3/29

While his next start is not set in stone, must believe that second Zito colt in HRI Top 10 will opt for a track and distance over which he is undefeated at 2-for-2. Further, the colt seems to be developing right before our eyes. Yes, he sat the perfect pole trip in the Fountain of Youth but he was very push-button for Kent Desormeaux, showing good acceleration into the stretch to blow the race apart. Colt now has everyone’s attention, including HRI’s.

Georgie Boy
San Felipe 3/15

He might be short on pedigree but he’s long on ability and proven class. He was G2 placed and a G1 winner as a juvenile and returned with an eye-opening performance for trainer Kathy Walsh in the San Vicente, making him 2-for-2 at 7 furlongs, the farthest he‘s ever raced. The 1-1/16th miles San Felipe will indicate something about his ability to get two turns successfully, but until he clears the 9-furlong hurdle he must live with the reputation of being a stretch-running sprinter. Interesting prospect.

Court Vision

The number of preps he will have for the Derby likely will determine where and when the colt runs next. Should the Bill Mott runner; a solid, wide-finish third behind a moderate Fountain of Youth pace in his season’s debut, have three preps, he likely would return in the Florida Derby. If he is to have two preps, his next start would be closer to the big dance and will demand a strong effort. He is a relentless long-distance runner that can rough it up and survive. He proved that much in the Remsen.

Into Mischief
San Felipe 3/15

First Crown of Thorns, now Into Mischief? Hopefully not, but this colt’s nagging foot problems won’t go away and unless he can return in the San Felipe he might miss the Kentucky Derby. Richard Mandella was not inducted into the Hall of Fame by being impatient. ‘Mischief’s’ Cash Call Futurity was a first rate score and his first around two turns. The recent San Vicente had “prep” written all over it. A tactical speedster with class in Hall of Fame hands is a loaded Derby gun. It’s not a serious injury but happened at a serious time.

Elysium Fields
Florida Derby 3/29

His maiden win at 9 furlongs was first rate and his Fountain of Youth placing was excellent. Having enough experience with five lifetime starts since his Nov. 8 debut, he was the tough-trip horse behind Cool Coal Man. He stalked a moderate pace while wide every step, surged on the far turn, remained one-paced until he re-surged and was reaching the winner late. Reportedly, Barclay Tagg was pleased as this colt gave him much to smile about. Looks like one of those long-winded sons of El Prado. Exciting late developer.

*=Equiform sprint figure
T=Equiform Lifetime Top
/=Most Recent Equiform Figure/Lifetime Top