There were only two true Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend, the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds and the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. Mucho Macho Man won the New Orleans race and Archarcharch won the Hot Springs race. With a paucity of action, you would think there would not be much change to the Super Six Derby Pix from last week, but you might want to reconsider that opinion as you read on:
#1- Uncle Mo- There are some who are souring on the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Champion Two-Year-Old Colt from 2010. His connections have announced a preference for the an overnight stakes race at Gulfstream over the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 12 as his comeback race. The Timely Writer is a one-turn mile with a $100,000 purse. Clearly, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner has enough graded earnings in the bank to pick his spots, but what does it say about him that his connections are rebuffing the tougher spot?
#2- Dialed In- The win by Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star really flattered this Nick Zito trainee because of the easy way he dusted Mucho Macho Man (and everybody else for that matter) in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream on January 30. His running style might be suitable to the Derby as well with that big come-from-behind burst, but try to think of where the speed might be? Just exactly what pace is he going to have to run at in Louisville?
#3- To Honor And Serve- Circumstances have downgraded him one spot in the Pix this week. However, he posted a bullet workout on Monday at Payson Park, covering four furlongs in a sterling 48.20 seconds. It seems a fitting final preparation for his long-awaited return to the races in the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth on Saturday. That is his supposed next start for trainer Bill Mott, who is still looking for that elusive first Derby winner.
#4- Brethren- Todd Pletcher got his elusive first Derby winner last year with WinStar's Super Saver. Well, this is his full brother and he was certainly full of run in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Derby. He put himself square in the Derby picture with that dominating performance. His next schedule race is the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby. Is his presence in there keeping Uncle Mo away? I doubt it, but it would have been nice to have that showdown to look forward to, wouldn't it?
#5- Santiva- I know he ran second to Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star. However, he was wider than Mucho Macho Man all the way around the racetrack and he still showed the guts and determination I have been harping on since I made him one of my "Three To Watch in 2011". His next possible run is in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 26. I certainly hope that will not be his final race before the Derby. I can really picture him gritting out a quality race in the Kentucky Derby, if he gets that far. Will he win? Maybe and maybe not, but I am sure you will get his best effort.
#6- Mucho Macho Man- He was impressive in victory in the Risen Star this weekend and I know I have the horse he beat ahead of him, but that is mainly because I have been high on Santiva for a while and it is not like he absolutely crushed him in New Orleans. He is certainly the most experienced horse of any on this list with seven starts, but just two wins in those races and one of those was this weekend. He, too, is listed as possible for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby next.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!