HRI Derby Power Rankings
Rk.
Horse
HRI
Rating
Equiform:
Last Figure/Top

Next Start

 
1.
War Pass
139
73¾/79¼T
Tampa Bay Derby 3/15

Commentary: The two-year-old champion owns the second highest Equiform figure earned by a juvenile since 1991. The highest was Street Sense for his Juvenile score in 2006. Such an advanced level of development certainly didn’t hurt the Nafzger colt at 3. Scheduled to race a week from Saturday at Tampa Baby, he appears to be scaring off the competition. Don’t expect any bravehearts to emerge at least until he stretches to 9-furlongs. That would be the Apr. 5 Wood Memorial.

2.
Pyro
133
72½/77T
Louisiana Derby 3/8

Commentary:
The Louisiana Derby is coming up as the prep of the season, which begins in earnest Saturday. It will be a meaningful step for Pyro as the quality of the competition will rise along with the early tempo. He’s been training in company like a seasoned pro, mostly with four-year-old Zanjero, a tack that keeps him on cruise control. Since the La. Derby is at the same distance as the Risen Star, not sure we’ll learn anything radically new.

3.
Colonel John
128
72/73T
Santa Anita Derby 4/5

Commentary:
The loss of training time owing to the rainy SoCal winter was no impediment in Saturday’s Sham Stakes. Always in position to win beneath Garrett Gomez, who put his mount up on the dawdling pace, John responded to the challenge of would-be pocket rocket El Gato Malo and galloped out nicely after the finish of the 9-furlong contest. HRI believes he’s the clear leader of the California-based three-year-olds, the soft, synthetic Sham pace notwithstanding.

4.
Denis of Cork
126
74¾T
Rebel Stakes 3/15

Commentary:
He dropped a notch due to inactivity but he’s still perfect after three starts over three different tracks, continuing to train well for David Carroll at his Fair Grounds base. The Grade 3 Southwest got him graded earnings and additional seasoning--the two ingredients he needed most. The waters will get much deeper when he returns to Oaklawn Park a week from Saturday.

5.
Cool Coal Man
122
75½T
Florida Derby 3/29

Commentary:
His next start is not set in stone but still must believe that trainer Zito will opt for the track and distance at which he’s 2-for-2. Developing at the right time, his perfect pole trip while winning the Fountain of Youth looks a lot better now that the running time was adjusted by more than a full second, and perhaps was even faster than that. Accomplished and still has upside potential.

6.
El Gato Malo
120
72¼/75½T
Santa Anita Derby 4/5

Commentary:
Sham placing to Colonel John was telling in that it indicated 9 furlongs is within his scope. Left with too much to do that was no fault of jockey David Flores, he quickened nicely after angling out sharply for room at headstretch to briefly loom a serious threat. But Colonel John was fresh and strong and never in danger late. Will these two become the West Coast version of War Pass and Pyro? Stay tuned.

7.
Elysium Fields
118
74¾T
Florida Derby 3/29

Commentary:
Fountain of Youth runnerup was upgraded from Poll I due to the running-time adjustment and removal of Into Mischief--until it can be confirmed that the Mandella colt’s foot issues are behind him. Barclay Tagg colt’s 9-furlong maiden win was first rate and his come-again Fountain of Youth placing was illuminating. Blinkers have helped big time. The Florida Derby is next--but don’t be shocked if Tagg opts for the Wood Memorial instead. We won’t.

8.
Court Vision
114
73¼T
Undecided

Commentary:
As stated last week, the number of Derby preps this colt will have likely will determine where and when he races next. Bill Mott runner was a solid, wide-finish third in time-adjusted Fountain of Youth, his season’s debut. Yes, the adjusted pace was faster, but then so was the final time. When and if he meets War Pass, he’ll get the kind of pace that will suit his deep-closing style.

9.
Georgie Boy
113
77½T*
San Felipe 3/15

Commentary:
Perhaps a tad short on pedigree, he’s long on ability and proven class. Well seasoned in a graded stakes campaign at 2, he returned with an eye-opening run in the 7-furlong San Vicente. The two-turn, mile and a sixteenth San Felipe will indicate whether he’s a classics prospect or a top-class stretch-running sprinter. Not that there‘s anything wrong with that.

10.
Tale Of Ekati
104
70¾/75T*
Louisiana Derby 3/8

Commentary:
Breaking into the Power Rankings this week, Tale of the Cat colt was all the buzz last year off his intensely troubled, in-hand, Grade 2 victory in the Belmont Futurity. Showing a dislike for the Gulfstream surface, he relocated to Palm Meadows where he’s been training so well that his normally conservative teacher is sending him into the deep Louisiana Derby waters. We’ll take that as a sign of confidence from Tagg who, like Zito, has two in HRI’s Power 10.


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