TRIO OF CONTENDERS SOLIDIFY STATUS
Saturday was an exciting day of racing across the country, including 3 Derby prep races. El Kabeir dominated the final furlongs of the Gotham Stakes to win over a muddy surface at Aqueduct. Should it be rainy on Derby day, this will be a performance to keep in mind! Meanwhile, it was Carpe Diem proving he is a force to be reckoned with in the Tampa Bay Derby. I was a little worried that he may need a race after his layoff, but he was mighty impressive leaving Ocean Knight in the dust. At Santa Anita, it was Dortmund cruising to victory in the San Felipe. He remains undefeated and is leaving little doubt that he will be one of the favorites on Derby day.
BUMPS ALONG THE ROAD
I featured an article about Ocho Ocho Ocho last week and was expecting a big performance this weekend. He failed to fire in the San Felipe. According to his trainer, he left the race with multiple lacerations but is expected to return for the Santa Anita Derby. Jockey Mike Smith was trapped along the rail for much of the race. I am not making any excuses for the disappointing performance, but am not willing to count him out yet!
This Saturday will feature The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. I am expecting to see the filly, Take Charge Brandi, compete against the boys. This race will also be the return of American Pharoah, who has been working sharply leading up to the event. As always, check back with The Paddock View throughout the week for updates.
JASON’S DERBY TOP 5
1. DORTMUND: He is now 5 for 5. He has shown the grit and heart of a competitor in each performance. I never expected him to wire the field in the San Felipe, but he literally got the perfect trip. We will get one more chance to see him before the Derby, and if he keeps this up he will be the favorite at Churchill!
2. CARPE DIEM: Finally! I’ve been waiting to see him race and he did not disappoint. As I mentioned, I thought he may need a race but he proved me wrong. That Tampa Bay Derby performance was impressive. Aside from a rough race in the BC Juvenile last November, this horse would be perfect. He flashed a lot of growth on Saturday, which is what we expect from every Derby winner as we enter mid-March. His stock is rising fast!
3. TEXAS RED: Last I heard, his return to the training track was delayed another week due to the abscess. I really hope he can get back in time as I believe he has the most raw talent of the 3 yo crop.
4. UPSTART: Pretty quiet week from the Upstart camp. Sometimes that is good news! As long as this horse continues to mature and develop his racing style, he has every right to be in the winner’s circle on the first Saturday in May.
5. INTERNATIONAL STAR: Another horse that has been really quiet on the national front. He is preparing for the March 28th running of the Louisiana Derby, which I will be at live. I can’t wait to see him in action. I think a lot of people may be counting him out, which would be a major mistake.
There was a major shakeup in points this weekend! Don’t forget to check out the updated schedule and standing page up top for up to the minute information! Hope everyone has a winning week!!