Well, this last weekend seemed to toss the Super Six Derby Pix into a bit of a frenzy because the horse that topped the initial list, Liaison, ran poorly in the Robert E. Lewis. He was already well-beaten by the time he unseated his rider. So, I don't consider that as a factor in his defeat. Alpha also strengthened his case with a win in the Withers and Battle Hardened took the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. With all that happened this past weekend, there are some changes to the Pix this week:
#1 Algorithms- He defeated the two-year-old champ, Hansen, in the Holy Bull and did it somewhat impressively as a matter of fact. He is trained by Todd Pletcher, who will have a wealth of contenders for the Derby it appears. His Sire is Bernardini, who won the Preakness in 2006. There appears to be a lot to like in this corner.
#2 Union Rags- Yet to return to the races after the disappointing loss in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Trainer Michael Matz was a Derby winner with Barbaro in 2006, so he is well-equipped to get a horse to get the Roses. Regular rider Javier Castellano might be the best in the business right now.
#3 Alpha- He won the Withers over the inner track at Aqueduct this past weekend and seems to just keep doing everything he is supposed to be doing to this point. His Sire is also Bernardini (do you seem to be sensing a theme here?). This might be Godolphin's best chance to get that elusive Derby they crave in quite some time.
#4 El Padrino- This is another Pletcher possibility who won at Gulfstream the same day that Algorithms established his credentials. His win in an Allowance race was certainly impressive. His next start is expected to be the in the Grade 2 Risen Star, which means he might be taking either the Louisiana route or eventually the Arkansas route to Louisville.
#5 Hansen- The defending two-year-old champion loses a couple of spots on the list, but since he did suffer his first loss to the top horse on the list, he should continue to be included. Those in the know seem to doubt his ability to go the classic distance of the Derby. He might be one to watch in say, the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.
#6 Creative Cause- You cannot underrate his effort in running third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and he avoided the carnage that the Robert Lewis turned into in the wake of 43-1 upsetter, I'll Have Another. His return effort is expected to be the Grade 2 San Vicente on February 19.
Tune in again this week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!