When I look at my Top 5 Derby horses I am looking for the pedigree that tells me that the horse can get the Classic Distance, and then on top of that the past performance for the horse that shows he can negotiate two turns. I need to see connections that will allow for the horse to develop as the horse needs to without being pushed too much in his preps and a trainer who’s not going to burn the shoes off the horse in the morning for no reason. The last thing I look at is the way the horse is handled in his preps and where he is prepping, I agree that some horses out west are really good, but none would or will ever be on my list without a dirt prep to see if they can handle the kickback and way that dirt racing is handled. All of these things are taken into consideration; I will start with my top choice.
1. Old Fashioned – This horse is by Unbridled Song, this tells me that the distance is not going to be an issue what so ever. He’s won at 6 panels up to 9 panels, all within himself. He’s shown the ability to blow out fields when he is fully cranked and still win with daylight when he’s not cranked at all as he did in the Southwest Stakes. He took the 1 1/8 mile Remsen with so much in reserve that it looked like he could have run another mile. I enjoyed the fact that this horse was acting as if he had jogged around the Oaklawn oval as they led him into the Winner’s Circle on President’s Day. This horse is in a position to do nothing but advance and move forward.
2. I want Revenge – This horse has been knocking heads with the best out west and incredibly and to the credit of the connections they have decided to put him in a dirt race to see what he’s able to do on the real surface. He’s been in the money in both graded stakes that he’s performed in both at 1 1/16 mile. So distance should not be an issue. He’s out of an A.P. Indy colt Stephen Got Even. He’s got a good up and coming jockey in Joe Talamo, who if patient can allow the horse to run his race every time.
3. Friesan Fire – This horse has done nothing wrong but be a stable mate to Old Fashioned, he is experienced and seasoned and if there is anything that you want in a Derby horse this horse should be your cup of tea. He’s won the two big Derby preps at Fairgrounds impressively and his pedigree shows that as the races get longer, well you know the old saying he’s going to Love the added distance. The only thing that is a detractor for this horse is that he’s going to need a slight break before the Derby which should help him but we’ll have to wait and see if Jones can let him down and get him cranked for the Derby.
4. Desert Party – This colt made Vineyard’s Haven look like an allowance horse last time out over in Dubai, as the way it was described by many is that he thrashed V.H. Desert Party sat chilly on the rail for Frankie Dettori and pounced and kept going as he won by almost 5 lengths. The pedigree of this horse says that he’s not going to have a problem dealing with the Classic distance and he seems to be nice and content doing just what the jockey asks of him at all calls.
5. Dunkirk – Well there’s not much to be said about this horse, just like his half brother everyone knows who he is, the only difference is that people seem to see a wow factor about this horse and how he’s devastated his overmatched foes. His pedigree is impeccable, and he’s bred to stay for as long as the race is run. We’ll see how it turns out but you can’t leave him out of your top five.