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 Kentucky Derby Power 10, Week 5

HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA., March 3, 2010--Nothing shakin’ around here last weekend and, come to think of it, not on the Left Coast, either, thanks to heavy rains and a failed racing surface.

But if you want to talk maiden breakers, allowances winners, Oaks and not Derby thoroughbreds, then you logged on to the right place. Perhaps these horses will catch up to the group by the time the Triple Crown circus arrives in Baltimore or New York.

Or perhaps not. But there was the Battaglia Memorial Turfway featuring eight horses I wish I owned. I wouldn’t go on the Derby Trail with them--but I’d still love the action.

For the record, longshot Vow To Wager was placed first when Codoy was DQ’d in an oddly run race.

There will be big doings at Santa Anita this Saturday with the re-scheduled Sham Stakes for three-year-olds joining a program replete with three Grade 1s, including, of course, the storied Big ‘Cap. It’s the second time an important stepping stone had to be rescheduled this year.

Of major interest in the Sham--if indeed they are re-entered when the race is redrawn--is whether well regarded Kettle River and Nextdoorneighbor are all that, and just where The Program currently fits in Bob Baffert’s program. Baffert is sending Tiz Chrome to New York this Saturday.

As for last weekend at Gulfstream, the talented Game On Dude came out of the key Mine N Gems maiden sprint to win on Saturday, doing it stylishly going a one-turn mile beneath Jeremy Rose.

A half hour later, Rick Dutrow showed what all the fuss was about with Radiohead, also winning at a flat-mile, a drawing-away winner. Dutrow had scratched Radiohead recently when he drew the rail post for his Gulfstream debut.

And finally, a half hour after that, Nick Zito tacked up a most impressive maiden winner, also going a mile, named Miner’s Reserve. This colt has power. Zito was impressed, too, but said afterwards he wasn’t about to go bear hunting with him anytime soon.

Mid-Summer Derby, anyone?

Dutrow struck again, winning the Davona Dale for sophomore fillies with Amen Hallelujah in yet another eye opening performance. The trainer must have really loved this one, allowing it to start from the rail out of the mile chute.

But as impressive as she was, the filly who scratched out of the race to run back in an allowance race Sunday, Christine Daae, impressed as being uber talented. She rated kindly off moderate fractions before powering away through the lane, the nine-furlongs result never in serious doubt.

Both fillies could return to face each other in the Bonnie Miss on the Florida Derby undercard. Patrick Biancone trains the latter.

As a consequence of all this, there were only minute changes in the HRI Derby Power 10 for Week 5. Here’s the group, as the HRI staff sees it:

1-LOOKIN AT LUCKY (33): As all know, the champ’s first serious work for his season’s debut was un-Baffert like. Well, how does seven-eighths of a mile in 1:25 1/5 grab you? Bullet Bob currently is vacillating between the San Felipe and the Rebel. The California spot looks easier at this juncture; the Arkansas race the tougher of the two and on dirt. If I were going the two-prep route, I wouldn’t want an easy race at this point.

2-ESKENDEREYA (30): Still basking in the afterglow of the Fountain of Youth that carried his colt to the top of the NTRA National Poll, Todd Pletcher is wrestling with what will be next. My guess is that he’ll play it safer and run him back over the Gulfstream track. But I’m not sure it wouldn’t be better to give him another week and run him back in New Orleans. But he’s the one juggling four serious contenders; way above my pay grade.

3-RULE (21): Pletcher’s Sam F. Davis winner is Grade 1-bound next according to the trainer, and Winstar racing manager Elliot Walden told us Saturday night that the colt now needs to prove his mettle “against the big boys.” That would make the two most logical spots the Arkansas Derby or Wood Memorial; logical, but not easy.

4-CONVEYANCE (20): Proved he could handle dirt very nicely, thank you, winning the Southwest under clever handling, getting away softer than expected. Baffert’s calling an audible, passing the Rebel in favor of either the Arkansas Derby and Wood Memorial. He did well in New York with Congaree, but Conveyance now has that winning race at Oaklawn. Either spot would prove he belongs. Or not.

5-DUBLIN (16): Throat surgery made him a new horse and his extremely game placing to Conveyance remains “the Trip of the Prep Season.” There’s no question he’s a top class equine athlete that can negotiate two turns. The issue might be the Derby’s 10mfurlongs but the talent is definitely there. The Rebel’s up next.

6-NOBLE’S PROMISE (11): Continues to train well and, as we mentioned in Week 4, it’s a good thing because he’s a two-prep colt. But he’s had a very solid juvenile foundation which makes two preps very logical He’s impressed with his professionalism but the Rebel likely will be a very difficult test for him given his lack of racing at 3.

7-CORACORTADO (10): Might lack the glamour of some of his rivals but there’s certainly no shortage of accomplishment here. California-bred is five-for-five in life--and one of those wins came on dirt--and he’s proven that he owns Derby style. He’ll probably win the San Felipe, too--and probably not as the favorite, either.

8-SUPER SAVER (9): Was to get started this weekend at Aqueduct in the Gotham Stakes but instead will ship to Hot Springs for the Rebel. It must be a spacing issue because while the Gotham is no walkover, it’s currently an easier spot on paper. Or since it’s only two preps, maybe Pletcher wants his feet held to the fire sooner rather than later.

9-DISCREETLY MINE (7): Pletcher’s sneaky high on him and whatever he decides to do with the guy next, it must be a tougher scenario than the one he had to “overcome” to win the Risen Star after leading in very soft fractions. He did show an ability to rate at Belmont Park at 2 so that shouldn’t be an issue. Tougher rivals might be, however.

10-DAVE IN DIXIE (5): Been training very well since excellent placing to Coracortado recently, turning more than a few heads with five-eighths of a mile in :59 3/5. Trainer John Sadler has a nice problem trying to separate ‘Dave’ from the brilliant Sidney’s Candy. This guy’s been very good on synthetics. If I were Sadler, I’d be looking for dirt next, but that’s just me.

HORSE WITH NO FAME: Trappe Shot might be behind the Derby eight ball with a recent maiden win going six furlongs at Gulfstream, but he’ll be famous soon enough. That’s what a 10-¼ length win in 1:09 2/5 will do for you. Apparently they’re still breeding some fast horses at Hobeau Farm.

Written by John Pricci - Comments (0)


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