Even with the one-day delay to recognize the accomplishment of Vicky Baze at Turf Paradise on Tuesday, the Super Six Derby Pix cannot be stopped. Here is this week's list:
#1-Uncle Mo- He was nominated by trainer Todd Pletcher to the Timely Writer to be run on March 12, along with twelve other horses, including Travelin Man, who finished well behind Flashpoint in the Hutcheson last weekend. There was a total of 36 nominations for the race, but one gets the impression that Pletcher REALLY wants this race to go, so Mo can get on the Road To The Roses. I still find in unsettling that the connections are passing on the Tampa Bay Derby the same day, when that was their original choice to begin with.
#2-Dialed In- Also nominated to the Timely Writer, but more likely to run in the Florida Derby. The Florida Derby won't be run until April 3, which means it will be 63 days between races for this Nick Zito trainee if he doesn't go in the Timely Writer. It also means this horse will be tremendously inexperienced leading into the Derby with only two starts in 2011. I know that seems to be the way most people want to go these days, but that strategy doesn't fit every horse.
#3-Brethren- This horse, in all honesty, should probably be at the top of this list, but again, I would be anxious to see where he would go following the Tampa Bay Derby. If he runs the same race he ran in the Sam F. Davis, he should be 2 for 2 in 2011. It was maybe the best race run by a three-year-old around two turns this year, to the naked eye. However, the Beyer number was unimpressive, as was the field. We are still nine weeks away from Louisville, but this brother of Super Saver might be the favorite to make it two straight for WinStar and Todd Pletcher.
#4-Santiva- Santiva continues to make steady progress up this list. He was all heart and desire in the Risen Star and is now listed in the Derby Watch as likely for the Louisiana Derby or the Blue Grass Stakes next. I would hope the connections would stay on the dirt and run at Fair Grounds. His speed did improve considerably in the Risen Star off his efforts last year, but he did not win. The best reason I can come up with is that he was parked outside of Mucho Macho Man all the way around the racetrack and the trip cost him.
#5-Soldat- Yes, his performance in the Fountain Of Youth this past weekend was excellent. I know I also said last week that the pace might be lacking in the Kentucky Derby this year. There is no question this horse will be part of the pace if Saturday is any indication. However, you have to think that someone is going to go with him, don't you? It is possible he could run a War Emblem-style front-running race in the Derby. It is also possible that he packs it in at the quarter pole and runs 14th or worse after getting some pressure. I still think this horse will end up on the turf later this year, a la Paddy O'Prado in 2010.
#6-To Honor And Serve- No horse was more disappointing this past week than this one. He was only the second choice in his return to racing following the long layoff after the Remsen win, but he was clearly a short horse. He was no match for Soldat, a horse I don't think is as good as this one (even though he is just ahead on this list). Trainer Bill Mott has never won the Kentucky Derby, this might be his best shot to get the Roses. The first step was a rocky one, but I still expect this horse to come back now that he is racing and training in full force.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!