This is the last week of Kentucky Derby prep races. It's strange having all the racing for a spot in the Kentucky field over so soon, but that's the way it goes now, so we just wait until May 5 for first of the Triple Crown races.
The feature race this week is the Arkansas Derby, worth 100 points to the winner, 40, 20 and 10 to the next three finishers. Magnum Moon has only run three times, but he's won all three with very good Beyer speed figures, the latest being a 97. Solomini has four Beyer numbers in the 90s and placed second to Magnum Moon in the Rebel Stakes, finished ahead of McKinzie in the Los Alimitos Futurity and was second-best to Good Magic and Bolt d'Oro in his races previous to the Los Alimintos. Obviously, he runs with classy company and does very well. Quip scratched out of his race last week to run here and has won three of four career starts. Combatant also runs with class, finishing third in the Rebel, second in the Southwest and second in the Smarty Jones. Tenfold has won both of his starts with Beyers in the upper 80s, and it's never a good idea to overlook an undefeated runner.
The Lexington drew a 12-horse field for a race with only 20 points going to the winner and 8, 4 and 2 to second though fourth. Those extra points might be just enough to earn some horses a place at the Derby. I really like My Boy Jack to win. He's finished in the top three seven times in nine starts and his Brisnet speed figures have been rising every outing, peaking at 99 when he was third to Noble Indy in the Louisiana Derby. Telekinisis has a win and a third in two attempts with 90+ Brisnet figures. Greyvitos would probably have been my pick here, but he hasn't run since last December and I kind of worry about rust. If he's ready, watch out. Battle at Sea won his last two and is improving every time he runs, Pony Up is on the rise with a second in the Ruby last time he ran and Seven Trumpets was strong early in the year, but needs to come back to that form to win here.
Last Saturday, Justify beat Bold d'Oro by three lengths to win the Santa Anita Derby and probably claimed the favorite role in the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May. The Blue Grass Stakes went to Good Magic with Flameaway second and Sporting Chance grabbing third when Free Drop Billy was DQd from that spot. In New York, Vino Rosso bested Enticed and Restoring Hope in the Wood Memorial.
Top 30 prospects with points earned toward a place in the Ky Derby field in parenthesis.
1. Mendelssohn (100) — demolished UAE Derby field
2. Justify (100) — won first two outings, then won Santa Anita Derby
3. Good Magic (134) — won the Blue Grass Stakes
4. Audible (110) — won Holy Bull, won Florida Derby
5. Magnum Moon (50) — won Rebel Stakes easily
6. Bolt d'Oro (104) — won San Felipe, second Santa Anita Derby
7. Noble Indy (110) — third Risen Star, won Louisiana Derby
8. My Boy Jack (32) — won Southwest Stakes, third Louisiana Derby
9. Solomini (34) — second in Rebel was not that great
10. Gronkowski (Euro) — qualified through Europe races
11. Flameaway (70) — Tampa Bay Derby, second Blue Grass
12. Enticed (103) — won Gotham Stakes, second Wood Memorial
13. Free Drop Billy (44) — hit the board in seven of eight races
14. Vino Rosso (107) — won the Wood Memorial
15. Runaway Ghost (50) — won Sunland Derby
16. Combatant (22) — second Southwest, third in Rebel
17. Quip (50) — won Tampa Bay Derby, three of four starts
18. Hofburg (40) — second Florida Derby
19. Pony Up (8) — Fifth Holy Bull, second Ruby
20. Blended Citizen (22) — won Jeff Ruby on artificial surface
21. Promise Fulfilled (52) — won Fountain of Youth, nothing Fla Derby
22. Lone Sailor (42) — big run to finish second in Louisiana Derby
23. Greyvitos (10) — won $400K Springboard, won G3 Bob Hope
24. Tenfold (0) — won both career starts
25. Telekinesis (0) — first and third in two starts
26. Snapper Sinclair (22) — third Lecomte, second by nose in Risen Star
27. Dream Baby Dream (20) — second in Sunland Derby
28. Strike Power (20) — second in Fountain of Youth
29. Seven Trumpets (9) — fourth in Sunland Derby
30. Bravazo (54) — won grade 2 Risen Star, poor La. Derby