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.

Louisville Kentucky Here They Come…

After the dust settled on Saturday night in Arcadia, with only the run of highly regarded Justify in a Sunday allowances, we thought there would be a sizable shakeup. That didn’t happened. But if there were a shake-up, maybe it’s Apollo that’s all shook up?

Bolt d’Oro, who debuted at #1 in the Week 1 poll last weekend, solidified his position at the top after he was awarded victory in a heavyweight fight masquerading as the Grade 2 San Felipe. More on that later.

In New York, meanwhile, Enticed gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin a second viable Kentucky Derby contender who jumped up to #4 after his thoroughly comprehensive G2 Gotham Stakes victory, a race that helped expose the weaknesses of both Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire.

In Tampa, an emerging Derby contender may have announced himself as Quip wore down a fast but stamina challenged World of Trouble in deep stretch. Sam F. Davis winner Flameaway ran on late to secure the place over a tiring speedster, essentially completing a 3-speed number in the G2 Tampa Derby.

Vino Rosso, new blinkers and all was a driving one-paced fourth to the finish with Holy Bull third finishing Tiz Mischief a driving one-paced fifth. Untamed Domain raced well enough in his dirt debut but not well enough to be considered serious Derby material. Tampa favorite Vino Rosso will try to redeem himself in the Wood Memorial.

The deservingly much maligned SoCal stewards had a difficult decision to make in the San Felipe and while we can’t say with certitude it was the correct one, I can say with certainty that they didn’t get this one completely wrong. To wit:

As the inside-battling McKinzie and outside-Bolt d’Oro went hoof-to-hoof into the stretch, McKinzie drifted out beneath Mike Smith, appearing to make the initial contact with his main rival, while, simultaneously, Javier Castellano was leaning in intimidatingly.

After the team straightened away, Castellano righted his mount and set sail to the finish. At midstretch, however, Mike Smith, as he has done so often in recent years, began race-riding and allowed his mount to come out in midstretch under a repeated left-hand whip.

In the final stages of this pitched battle, McKinzie and Smith was the clear aggressors and, if one of these horses needed to be disqualified, the stewards chose the correct license plate.

This incident notwithstanding, the horse with recent conditioning defeated the returning would-be juvenile champion of 2017 by never letting him by. Conventionally, all else being equal, if both return for the Santa Anita Derby, it’s advantage Bolt d’Oro.


Bolt d'Oro (48) benefited from disqualification in the San Felipe and is expected to benefit from his season’s debut. Looms clear cut Santa Anita Derby favorite.

McKinzie (36) completes a second consecutive cold exacta sweep by SoCal three-year-olds. Passed the all-important eyeball test Saturday at Santa Anita. Neither gave an inch through a final sixteenth in 6.53 seconds.

Good Magic (29) moved up a notch by virtue of Solomini’s inactivity this weekend. In fact, his absence from competition this weekend sees him drop into a tie at #8.

Enticed (25) confirmed my early impressions re his class and turn of foot--responsible for a geared down final quarter-mile in 26.47-- but sadly the editor did not remain loyal in the Gotham; an amateur hour moment.

Audible (19) holds on to the #5 spot and is, of course, training up to the Florida Derby purposefully for Todd Pletcher.

Quip (16) was vastly underrated going into the Tampa Bay Derby but a quick overview reveals that he’s done very little wrong. Maiden sprint win on debut, a subsequent two-turn romp, and a very troubled effort in the G2 Jockey Club Stakes. And now this, a Tampa Derby hero, with the fastest final sixteenth of the weekend, 6.40 seconds.

Promises Fulfilled (11) there is a temptation to overrate his much-the-best Fountain of Youth exhibition, however, he does have that high cruising speed. That worked out nicely for his daddy.

Justify (10-tie) will or at least should send you back to the video tape for another look. Yes, it came over a modest group but he hardly drew a breath after making a devastating, on-own turn move. Very exciting racehorse.

Solomini (10-tie) is as accomplished as any at this stage of the season but will need to keep improving to keep up with the new brilliance on the scene.

Bravazo (5)
it could be that the excitement around this colt has as much to do with Lukas Mystique as anything, or it could be not. All will be revealed soon enough.

ALSO: Catholic Boy, Avery Island, Snapper Sinclair,

OLDSMAR, FL, March 11, 2018

Written by John Pricci - Comments (4)


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