This coming weekend will certainly be a huge one as far as settling where many contenders think they are on the Road To The Derby. There will be three major Kentucky Derby prep races on Saturday (The Rebel at Oaklawn, The San Felipe at Santa Anita, and The Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs). It will also be the 2010 debut of the top pick so far in each of the edition of the Super Six Derby Pix. So, without further ado:
#1 Lookin At Lucky- Has finished behind only one horse ever in his career and that one (Vale Of York) is looking more and more like he is off the Derby Trail for Godolphin. He is ready to be shipped into Arkansas tomorrow for Saturday's running of the Grade 2 Rebel after a final workout at Santa Anita this morning, 5F in 1:01.1. Baffert says he learned about staying on synthetics last year with Pioneerof The Nile in the Derby. He ran second, but you don't get any Roses for second, do you?
#2 Eskendereya- Has the most eye-popping performance of any of the top 2010 Derby contenders with that crushing victory over what is believed to be the deepest prep field thus far in the Fountain Of Youth. His next action is also expected to be at Gulfstream. It will come next Saturday, March 20, in the Florida Derby, maybe? He also is being considered for the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3. Will Gulfstream's decision to move their Derby up a week end up costing them the likely favorite? We'll see.
#3 Dublin- This is D. Wayne Lukas' best potential Derby horse in a decade. Lukas has not won the big one on the First Saturday In May since Charismatic in 1999. Dublin did finished behind Conveyance in the Southwest, but remember it was his 2010 debut and it was also his first race following epiglottis surgery. With more experience and more time away from the procedure, I expect this guy to keep getting better and better. Don't forget, this horse was hyped a lot during the summer and autumn of 2009 for this very scenario.
#4 Rule- He has not really beaten anything impressive thus far on the Road To The Derby, but you know what, all he does is keep winning. I remember a few years ago that everyone said that Hard Spun didn't beat anything, but while he didn't win the Derby, he was the only thing in the picture behind Street Sense. His connections have elected to eschew the Tampa Bay Derby this weekend and look at the Florida Derby the following weekend. If Eskendereya ends up in the same race, trainer Todd Pletcher will likely have the two favorites.
#5 Noble's Promise- Makes his 2010 debut race in the same spot where his old foe, Lookin At Lucky, will be. That is the Rebel at Oaklawn this weekend, which will surely supplant the Fountain Of Youth as the deepest and best prep of the season thus far. He has not managed to finish ahead of Lookin At Lucky yet, but he doesn't have to until they get to Churchill Downs, where it counts the most.
#6 Radiohead- A new addition to the Super Six Derby Pix. I was very high on this horse entering the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November. He ended up suffering a miserable trip and still only finished four lengths behind the winner in the clustered finish of that race. He looked impressive in his return race, an Allowance win at Gulfstream on February 27. His next start will be the Florida Derby. By the way, his connections are the same owner and trainer that won the Derby with Big Brown two years ago.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!