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 6

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, March 10, 2010--Time was when the Gotham really meant something as the Derby Trail lengthened into mid-March. And it still might, if the victory by British-based Awesome Act is any measure.

Awesome Act was clearly best taking the Grade 2 mile and a sixteenth beneath Eclipse Award-winning Julien Leparoux for trainer Jeremy Noseda. He showed an ability to rate, as you might expect, but also an excellent turn of foot in his dirt debut, unknown until last Saturday.

Two things, however: Let’s see how he handles the dreaded “Euro Bounce” in his second start stateside this time around in the April 3 Wood Memorial.

Let’s see, too, if Noseda is correct when he compares him to his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-winning Wilko. But, then, shouldn’t he hope he’s wrong, given that Wilko never did anything that good again?

And can Noseda really be that excited after beating up on the locally based three-year-olds? Nice horses, yes, but certainly not the pulse-quickening kind. Perhaps the runnerup, Yawanna Twist, has some special quality. We’re sure to find out soon enough as he also could run back in the Wood.

Things weren’t all that exciting out West, either. Aside from Alphie’s Bet--for us, as difficult to “make” after the race as he was before last Saturday’s Sham Stakes--who ran very well, drawing off with authority in deep stretch, what did it prove, other than the fact he’s finally coming to hand?

It wasn’t a great group of sophomores he knocked off, either. On balance, all the major contenders were disappointing but, as a wise man once said, you can only beat what they put in front of you. And beat them in deep stretch he did, as if they were rented mules. He’s now 2-for-2 in blinkers.

Thankfully, the coming weekend’s results figure to be more meaningful--one way, or another. Now that the champ’s returning in the Rebel Stakes, and another talented juvenile of 2008, Super Saver, is back for the Tampa Derby, things are heating up.

And whether it’s Lookin At Lucky or not, the eventual Rebel winner figures to earn a hard fought victory.

Once again, there was not significant movement among the HRI Power 10 this week. But you can wager confidently that won’t be the case in Week 7.

1-LOOKIN AT LUCKY (33): Here comes the champ, Arkansas. Bob Baffert hopped off the fence and decided Hot Springs was the way to go. This will be not only the colt’s three-year-old debut but his first start on dirt as well. Regular rider Garrett Gomez remains aboard. He need not win but given a two-prep schedule, he had better run well.

2-ESKENDEREYA (30): Given his excellent performance in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, Todd Pletcher is running him back in the Florida Derby. This makes sense, of course--unless you believe it’s not prudent to run back in the Kentucky Derby off a six-week layoff. But that tack probably will work nicely with this colt… we think.

3-CONVEYANCE (22): Undefeated Baffert speedster apparently will remain on the path of least resistance as colt is now pointing for the prep that Mine That Bird made famous, the Sunland Park Derby. We love the high altitude angle, but not the fact he’ll arrive in Kentucky still an unknown quantity.

4-RULE (21): Given his talent and grit, it is no wonder the connections want to strike in a Grade 1 while the colt is hot. Winstar racing manager Elliot Walden also wants to see how he fares against the big boys. He’s sure to find out in either the Florida Derby or Wood Memorial. Not sure which one makes the most sense vis a vis Louisville.

5-DUBLIN (14): The “Trip Horse of the Prep Season” runs back in the Rebel Stakes over the same track where he made his excellent season’s debut, Oaklawn Park. He continues to work bullets, and will be a very tough out this Saturday. Wayne Lukas taking the three-prep approach and is training his charge with great confidence.

6-CORACORTADO (12): Working brilliantly for Saturday’s San Felipe and, despite the deeper competition, he likely will remain undefeated and on the Classics path. He owns Derby style, a confident set of capable, albeit low profile, connections and, most significantly, talent. Very curious to see how he responds to the ramped-up competition.

7-NOBLE’S PROMISE (11): Continues to train well, having an excellent company workout this past weekend for Saturday’s Rebel, trainer Ken McPeek opting for Oaklawn’s surface over the often quirky Tampa Bay Downs. Like the champ, has plenty of juvenile foundation and is on a two-prep schedule. Will have his feet held to the fire quickly.

8-SUPER SAVER (10): Pletcher probably making an excellent call here, beginning this guy’s three-year-old campaign in the Tampa Bay Derby, at this writing a softer spot than the Rebel. Further, the demanding Tampa surface should provide conditioning and a good foundation for this two-prepster.

9-DISCREETLY MINE (9): Todd, Part IV, has had this one in light training since his Risen Star score and runs back at the Fair Grounds in the March 27 Louisiana Derby. Pletcher is excellent measuring his competition and at the moment this seems the softest spot among the upcoming major tests. Still, he’ll need to work much harder this trip.

10-DAVE IN DIXIE (4): Just missed behind Coracortado with a flying finish in the Robert B. Lewis Memorial and will try to catch him at the San Felipe finish post. He, too, has been working like a good colt. He may be light on experience but has talent. Trainer John Sadler’s has been winning almost everything in SoCal this winter. And then there’s the brilliant Sidney’s Candy, too!

HORSE WITH NO FAME: Radiohead. Of course, wiseguys and Europhiles know him well and the rest of the Derby world could find out soon enough when Rick Dutrow runs the recent Gulfstream allowance winner back in the Florida Derby a week from Saturday.

Written by John Pricci - Comments (2)


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