2023 Derby Rankings – Week 9

We are in the mid-March eye of the storm where we have a brief lull before the second and more powerful blast hits us. Until then we take a deep breath, get through the eerie stillness, and prepare for the second wave, which will hit first in New Orleans. In addition to analyzing the Louisiana Derby we made a few changes in the Rankings order due to timing and added one new horse. ~ Steve Haskin

Derby Rankings: March 20, 2023 – Week 9

By Steve Haskin

1—Forte (Todd Pletcher, Violence – Queen Caroline, by Blame)

All we’re waiting for now is the Florida Derby to see if he is still the solid favorite for the Kentucky Derby after the race. To be frank, I don’t see anyone in Florida who looks good enough to beat him; certainly not the horses he handled so easily in the Fountain of Youth or anyone from the Holy Bull. In this game you hate to be so bold as to say he looks to have a free pass, as some young horses do make rapid improvement this time of year, but this has been a slow bunch and no one has given any indication that they are going to make such a sudden leap forward they can beat this colt, although the lightly raced Mage should improve big-time off his fourth in the Fountain of Youth. Granted, Forte’s speed figures have not exactly been though the roof and he’s been running the same Thoro-Graph numbers he ran last fall. But all he has to do is maintain those numbers to beat these horses. Then we’ll see how they stack up with the others in the Kentucky Derby. Perhaps an out-of-town horse needing points and wanting to avoid a large contentious field will ship in trying to at least pick up second-place points. Forte had an easy half-mile breeze in :50 3/5 on Sunday.


2—Practical Move (Tim Yakteen, Practical Joke – Ack Naughty, by Afleet Alex)

He remains sharp with a half-mile breeze in :47 3/5 for the Santa Anita Derby. Earlier in the year it looked as if the Southern California contingent was the thinnest, with Bob Baffert horses, many of whom wouldn’t be heading to the Derby, dominating the group. But they have sorted themselves out with several improving colts bursting on the scene. As a result, Practical Move, the clear-cut leader of the pack, looks to be facing stiffer competition in his final prep than Forte. Geaux Rocket Ride and Skinner should both improve off the San Felipe and National Treasure is back and working lights out. There is also the unknown factor, Mandarin Hero from Japan. And let’s not forget that Baffert is still around and dangerous with his non-Derby horse Cave Rock, who is training brilliantly. Yakteen has to decide the best way of getting Practical Move, his main priority, having developed the colt, to the Kentucky Derby while also doing what’s right for National Treasure and Reincarnate, who have been entrusted in his care. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s going to take good planning and some luck to not have any of these horses facing each other before the Derby. Practical Move has really found his niche and has developed into a sound, dependable, and professional racehorse who definitely should improve off the San Felipe.


3—Tapit Trice (Todd Pletcher, Tapit – Danzatrice, by Dunkirk)

The biggest action this week is still trying to figure out what we think of Tapit Trice after his polarizing victory in the Tampa Bay Derby. We’ve heard it all. He showed how special he is by coming from so far back and mowing down the field in the stretch…His slow start and lack of pushbutton acceleration are going to hurt him in a 20-horse field…Once he gets rolling he is a runaway bulldozer and you don’t want to get in his way…His Beyer regression to a mediocre 88 shows he is too slow to win the Derby…He finds a way to win, whether it’s a gut-wrenching stretch battle to the wire, an eight-length romp stalking the pace, or coming from dead-last to win going away…He still has a lot to learn and only one race to get his act together. All we can add this week is that his Thoro-Graph number, after improving two points in every race, only went from a 4 1/2 to a 4 1/4, and he would need a far bigger improvement than that in his next start. Fortunately, no one has run faster than a 2 this year, so he is not dealing with a particularly fast bunch of 3-year-olds up to this point. That could change after the final preps. Bottom line is I thought he was special when I ranked him No. 7 off a neck maiden win, which I never do, and my opinion of him hasn’t changed. He still has two months to smooth out any rough edges.


4—Hit Show (Brad Cox, Candy Ride – Actress, by Tapit)

Brad Cox’s “hit show” will be at Fair Grounds this weekend when he fires some of his heavy ammo in the Louisiana Derby and then sets off another round the following week in the Arkansas Derby. But his real hit show may turn out to be in the Wood Memorial on April 9 when he will run either this colt to try to duplicate his powerful victory in the Withers Stakes, which would send him into the Kentucky Derby off back-to-back mile and an eighth races, or Gotham runner-up Slip Mahoney or both. The latter is there and looks certain to run. Hit Show is back working steadily at Fair Grounds, so who knows if he’ll ship back up north or go to the Blue Grass Stakes. Just as a reminder he will not turn 3 until three days after the Kentucky Derby so he has been a late bloomer who has improved with every work and every race since he was a baby. And his speed figures have also improved with every race to the point where his Thoro-Graph number in the Withers has not been topped by any 3-year-old. Because of his May 9 foaling date, for him to break his maiden in a romp in his career debut in October of his 2-year-old campaign is impressive as is winning a 1 1/8-mile stakes on February 11 at 3. What will help him in the Derby is that he has always been very laid back and just a smart, straight-forward colt. He still has to face better quality horses, but other than that he has shown he has all the qualities to be a top Derby contender.


5—Reincarnate (Tim Yakteen, Good Magic – Allanah, by Scat Daddy)

He turned in a strong six-furlong work in 1:12 2/5 in company. As of now it looks like he will return to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby, with Yakteen having Practical Move as the top dog in Southern California. So, what do we know about this colt? We know he is a fighter and hard to get by in the stretch. We know he can battle through adversity and adapt to different situations, such as a breaking slowly and having to deviate from his normal running style and then overcoming a mugging in the stretch and still closing strongly to get third. It’s good to know you can be confident no matter where he is in the race and what problems he may face. We also know he is an imposing physical specimen with fluid action and he has as solid a foundation as any of them, having run six times, all at a mile or farther. He also has finished first or second on fast and sloppy tracks and on grass. So at this young stage of his life he boasts quite a resume. Now he just has to pick it up a notch and keep moving forward. If you look at his distinctive charcoal gray coat with the white splotches, there is a resemblance (with far fewer splotches) to the great Irish-bred stallion The Tetrarch, also known as “The Spotted Wonder,” to whom he traces back through grays Holy Bull, The Axe, and Mahmoud, who is a great-grandson of The Tetrarch.


6—Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook, Violence – Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid

Barry Eisaman, who broke him, said he was an ideal horse to be around who had no bad habits and took everything new in stride. No matter what he was introduced to he immediately handled it like a pro. As Eisaman put it he was like a college kid in high school. When looking at the early stages of a potential Derby horse this is what you want to see. Pedigree-wise, many have forgotten Lemon Drop Kid, who only won the Belmont, Travers, Whitney, Woodward, Suburban and Brooklyn. Raise Cain’s second dam is by Pacific Classic and Woodward winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Bertando, who is by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Skywalker. His tail-female family traces to Man o’ War through his son, Triple Crown winner War Admiral. His huge Thoro-Graph leap from a 12 1/4 to a 2 in the Gotham would suggest a possible regression in his next start, whether the Wood Memorial or Blue Grass, but if he doesn’t, watch out. I think the 2 is for real, as he has a 7 3/4 and a 6 1/4 to fall back on and a 2 would be a natural progression from those figures. The 12 1/4 I believe was an outlier as a result of it being his first start on a synthetic surface, which he apparently did not care for. So if you eliminate that race he is on a better pattern than his figures might suggest.


7—Instant Coffee (Brad Cox, Bolt d’Oro – Follow No One, by Uncle Mo)

With Angel of Fire, Confidence Game, and Red Route One all passing the Louisiana Derby, it does make his job a lot easier, as he is now by far the class of the race. In a 12-horse field devoid of speed he at least should have a ground-saving trip breaking from post 2. But with two months off he could be fresh enough to stay closer to the pace than usual. His big advantage now is that a number of his potential threats, such as Disarm, Kingsbarns, Shopper’s Revenge, and Cagliostro are all lightly raced horses with no stakes experience. And two of the proven stakes horses, Curly Jack and Jace’s Road, are coming off bad races. So, although he hasn’t run in a while, he should be able to handle these horses unless one of the lightly raced horses, especially Disarm and Kingsbarns, is a major star in the making, his stablemate Jace’s Road can steal the race as the only horse with speed, or he comes up short after the long layoff. He had his final work Saturday, breezing five furlongs in a solid 1:01. Instant Coffee really needs to run and get a 1 3/16-mile race under him because of the six-week gap to the Kentucky Derby. With the way this race came up, even if he beats these horses we still won’t know how good he really is. But he definitely has to be respected because he knows how to win and will have three graded stakes victories to his credit.


8—Skinner (John Shirreffs, Curlin – Winding Way, by Malibu Moon)

Some may feel he was hanging a bit through the stretch in the San Felipe, but he is still a work in progress and is just now figuring it all out. He runs like a horse who is going to keep improving as the distances stretch out, but from a pedigree standpoint he is still a bit of an enigma. Although Curlin and Malibu Moon are stamina influences hIs dam was a sprinter and a full-sister to a grade 2-winning sprinter and is second dam was a sprinter. So it’s hard to guess how far he wants to go. Right now we can only go by how he’s run in his two races this year and knowing he has a patient trainer who knows how to get into the mind of his horses and get the most out of them. And Shirreffs and the colt’s exercise rider have been working with him over the winter, and he sure looks like a different horse this year, as evidenced by his Brisnet figures climbing to a 96 and 98 and his Beyers from in the 60s and 70s to a 95 and 94. So whatever Shirreffs has done with him appears to be working.


9—National Treasure (Tim Yakteen, Quality Road – Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro)

Although he’s lost his last three starts and hasn’t run since early January I am going to add him for his consistency in top-class company and for the way he returned to the work tab after not having worked for almost a month. Earlier this year he twice worked in company with Reincarnate and was put on the lead and refused to let Reincarnate get his head in front at the wire and in the gallop-out. He returned after being scratched in the San Felipe due to a foot bruise with a brilliant six-furlong work in 1:11 4/5, which is a heckuva first work back. He followed that up with a five-furlong drill in 1:00 flat so he should be ready for a big comeback effort. This colt has been second to Cave Rock in the grade 1 American Pharoah and third to Forte and Cave Rock in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He has run four times and has not gotten a Brisnet figure of under 90, with a 101 in the American Pharoah. And that 90 was in his career debut; he has not gotten under a 96 since. On Thoro-Graph his slowest number has been a 6 1/4 in his career debut and he got a 2 3/4 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. So there is a lot to recommend him and now that he is back with a series of strong works and is with Yakteen he has to be considered a legitimate contender. While the Santa Anita Derby looks to be the most convenient spot for his return, it would make more sense to keep them all separated. He is nominated to the Florida Derby and the Blue Grass looks like a great spot for him unless he starts tearing the barn down before then.


10—Red Route One (Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner – Red House, by Tapit)

All systems are go for the Arkansas Derby. He worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on March 13 and is scheduled to have one more work. You normally wouldn’t get overly excited about a horse who is one-for-seven, but I keep watching his races and I’m still impressed with what I see despite the record. In his seven starts, six of them have been at 1 1/16 miles and the other at one mile, so you can’t ask for a better foundation. He handles fast and sloppy tracks and grass and has run at five different racetracks. And in his last three races I still believe he would have won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes had he not been completely shut off in the stretch while making what looked like a winning move; then he came from far back to finish second to the brilliant Arabian Knight in the Southwest Stakes; and in his last start he closed from almost 20 lengths back in the Rebel Stakes to finish second, beaten a length despite finishing on his wrong lead. And before that he rallied late to snatch third behind Forte in the Breeders’ Futurity, nipping Instant Coffee on the wire. Of course he is totally pace dependent and can’t afford to be as far back as he was in the Rebel, but let’s see what he does returning to a fast track. 


11—Angel of Empire (Brad Cox, Classic Empire – Armony’s Empire, by To Honor and Serve)

Even though he won the Risen Star it makes sense that Cox doesn’t want to pit his two most accomplished colts against each other at Fair Grounds, so he will wait for the following week’s Arkansas Derby. I really have no idea how good this colt is, and in many ways neither do is connections, who are excited to see him go 1 1/4 miles. Despite coming off a win and a second in stakes he still has not reached a 90 Beyer figure. But his Brisnet figures have shown a big jump every race ending with an excellent 97 in the Risen Star, while his Thoro-Graph numbers leaped from a 9 1/4 to a 2 1/2, so he can probably use the extra week. He has fallen through the cracks since he was a baby, partly because he is a Pennsylvania-bred and was by a freshman sire. His dam is by Honor and Serve, his second dam is by Carson City, his third dam is by Metfield, and his fourth dam is by Whitesburg, so there aren’t any real glamour names there. First he was a $32,000 RNA as a weanling at the Keeneland November mixed sale and then the following year the Albaugh family snatched him out of the depths of the Keeneland September yearling sale for a meager $70,000. According to the Albaughs’ racing manager Jason Loutsch, “He went through all our hoops.” Now that he has turned into a tiger he has one more hoop to go through before he takes his “no one wanted me” story to Churchill Downs.


12—Geaux Rocket Ride (Dick Mandella, Candy Ride – Beyond Grace, by Uncle Mo)

I have to admit I have no idea where to rank this horse, so I will keep him down here until the Louisiana, Florida, and Arkansas Derby horses sort themselves out. The more I watch the San Felipe Stakes the more impressed I am, especially the professionalism he showed with only one sprint under him and how strongly he was striding out in the stretch, pulling clear of Hejazi and holding Skinner at bay after cutting to the inside turning for home. If he had one more start and didn’t have to go into the Kentucky Derby off only three lifetime starts and none at 2 I would have him ranked in the top six. He is such a beautiful mover and has such a strong pedigree I believe he has stardom written all over him. But I just can’t get past his lack of racing, as crazy as that may seem in this new era of lightly raced horses. He’ll have his work cut out for him in the Santa Anita Derby, but he has as much right to improve big-time as anyone. And if he should beat Practical Move and the others then I’m going to have to start thinking less about the three starts and more about how gifted he is. I learned that lesson the hard way with Justify. In the meantime, as far as being ranked No. 12, think of him being in a holding pattern until some of the smoke clears over the next two weeks.


13—Rocket Can (Bill Mott, Into Mischief – Tension, by Tapit)

Although he still has many question marks I can’t get him out of my mind because every time I think of him I start hearing Elton John and substituting his name. That nonsense aside there is really nothing to add about him other than he is improving, but it seems too slowly to be considered a major threat to Forte in the Florida Derby if that is where Mott winds up running him. While he could easily get second again he might seem more suited to a race like the Blue Grass even though that likely will have a larger and much deeper field. But by then he may have improved even more, and if so could even have a shot to win. If points were still an issue then going for second again in the Florida Derby might be the smart way to go, but it is not an issue so Mott will just have to decide the best way of getting to the Kentucky Derby and being competitive. This colt does have a bright future; I’m just not sure if it’s going to be on the first Saturday in May. If you are looking for a bright spot he did turn in a bullet half-mile work in :48 3/5, fastest of 19 works at the distance. That is a very quick work at Payson Park, so maybe he is sharper and closer to peaking than one might think.


14—Slip Mahoney (Brad Cox, Arrogate – Get Lucky, by A.P. Indy)

He breezed a half in :49 at Belmont. By him remaining in New York all winter he no doubt is headed for the Wood Memorial. Whether Hit Show returns and joins him is still up in the air. It’s just too bad no one got an opportunity to bet on him in the latest Kentucky Derby Future Wager despite a number of horses with far less credentials being put in the field of 39. I still believe this is a legitimate Derby contender, and like Geaux Rocket Ride, he has only been lowered until we get some clarity over the next three weeks. Last week I said this was my Derby sleeper and based on the lack of respect he received from Churchill Downs I still believe that. He is a proven fighter, made Tapit Trice run is guts out to beat him a neck, and, like Reincarnate, showed he can shrug off a slow start, adjust to having to come from far back for the first time, and still rally to finish in the money. In his case he had to go nine to 10-wide at the top of the stretch to do it. To say he has a strong pedigree would be a gross understatement. We’ll go into that in detail next week. Until he proves otherwise, I believe he is a serious horse.


15—Verifying (Brad Cox, Justify – Diva Delite, by Repent)

He breezed a strong five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for the Arkansas Derby, where I am looking for a huge move forward off his troubled fourth in the Rebel Stakes. He is one of many Derby prospects who have had their progress stopped or slowed down abruptly either by bad trips, track condition, or other reasons not reported by their connections, such as bleeding, lung infections or whatever. His progress was only slightly hampered because we all saw the traffic problems he had, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t get back on track with a clean trip in the Arkansas Derby. Let’s not forget this is a horse who was able to finish second in the Champagne Stakes off one six-furlong maiden race. He just has to show some consistency and prove that race was for real, even if it was on a sloppy track. We also have to remember that two races back he finished eight lengths ahead of Two Eagles River, who came back to win an allowance race by four lengths over Disarm.



Although we mentioned some of them already, several Louisiana Derby horses were out for their final works at Fair Grounds on Saturday, including INSTANT COFFEE (5f in 1:01), SUN THUNDER (1:01 1/5), and TAPIT’S CONQUEST (1:02 1/5), along with Arkansas Derby hopefuls VERIFYING (1:01 1/5) and CONFIDENCE GAIN (:50). We’re putting Confidence Game on hold for now until we see how he’s doing over the next week or so.

At Palm Beach Downs, KINGSBARNS, who is making quite a leap to 1 3/16 miles in the Louisiana Derby, breezed a half in :49 3/5. Todd Pletcher must think a lot of this colt to run him in this spot off only two lifetime races. But both were extremely impressive, and he got so much schooling in his troubled career debut that his lack of racing might be deceptive. I think he could be a very special horse. Spendthrift Farm surely thought a lot of him when they paid $800,000 for him at the Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. They and Pletcher both feel it’s worth the shot to find out just what they have before the Kentucky Derby, especially considering what they have could be a lot.

DISARM, who will also be trying to pick up enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby in the Louisiana Derby, despite having only one mile allowance race in almost eight months, turned in a solid six-furlong work in 1:13. There is no question this colt has the talent and has always been highly thought of. It’s just a question of whether he is ready to take on 11 opponents, including several experienced stakes horses off that one second place allowance finish. But that was actually a stronger race than you might think with the front-running winner coming home so fast and him matching strides with him in the final furlong. He also was caught looking around at the start and broke a few steps slowly, but they have been working on that. Now he gets Joel Rosario. I happen to think he and Kingsbarns are very serious horses who should run big despite their inexperience.

While on the subject of lightly raced, but talented horses, SHOPPER’S REVENGE is another to keep an eye on after an impressive 5 1/4-length maiden win at Oaklawn and a strong second in an allowance race rallying on the far outside after having to go six-wide at the head of the stretch. He is one who definitely will appreciate the extra distance and I know Steve Asmussen is very high on him.

The big question with all these horses will be the pace, as there looks to be only one serious speed horse and that is the Gun Runner Stakes winner JACE’S ROAD, who has to bounce back off his dismal showing in the Southwest Stakes. But his only two poor races have come in the slop so it will be interesting to see how far he will take them on a fast track. If he gets loose on the lead watch out. This horse on his best day is more than capable of wiring this field. On a fast track he has a 6 1/4-length maiden win and a 5 1/2-length wire-to-wire score in the Gun Runner Stakes over eventual runaway Gotham winner Raise Cain. And his other race on a fast track was a close third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Curly Jack, in the Iroquois Stakes coming off his maiden win.

The horse that beat Shopper’s Revenge, AIRTIME, who got through along the rail, had been claimed the race before for $50,000 by Robertino Diodoro while winning by 10 1/4 lengths, something we’ve been seeing a lot in the past few years. He worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 Saturday at Oaklawn and could run back in the Arkansas Derby, which is now shaping up as a very strong race.

Not too many are paying much attention to Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks, despite its 100 points, but it is shaping up as an excellent race with several promising horses who will still have to make the transition to dirt. The main contenders are the Battaglia winner CONGRUENT and the Leonatus winner FUNTASTIC AGAIN, who has back-to-back runaway victories at Turfway Park. One horse to keep an eye on at a price is SCOOBIE QUANDO, who has a win and two seconds at Turfway, has a good turn of foot, and ran a big race rallying for second in the Battaglia. The son of Uncle Mo has the same connections as Gotham winner Raise Cain.

Because he was spread real thin, Doug O’Neill decided to send his recent maiden winner HENRY Q, a son of Blame, to Todd Fincher at Sunland Park to run in the Mine That Bird Derby and Sunland Derby, after which he would be returned to him. Although he didn’t beat much in the former, Henry Q suddenly found himself on the Derby trail by scoring a 14 3/4-length victory in a snappy 1:41 2/5 for the 1 1/16 miles and at this point looks to be the horse to beat in the Sunland Derby. Another O’Neill 3-year-old who found himself on the Derby trail out of nowhere was last weekend’s maiden winner I DON’T GET IT, whose three-quarter-length victory may have propelled him into the big Derby preps, with his next target possibly the Wood Memorial or Santa Anita Derby, according to O’Neill. He and the colt’s owner Paul Reddam are fearless when it comes to running horses in races that seem to be way over their head.  But they have won two Kentucky Derbys together, so they have earned free passes to do whatever they want.

Also in Sunday’s Sunland Derby, Bob Baffert has entered HARD TO FIGURE, who is coming off a second, beaten a neck, in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and has turned in two sensational works since, going six furlongs in 1:12 flat and then working five furlongs in a bullet :58 4/5, fastest of 69 works at the distance, in company with Arabian Lion.

With two horses in both the Louisiana and Arkansas Derbys, Kenny McPeek was able to send HAYES STRIKE to Laurel for this past Saturday’s Private Terms Stakes, and the son of Connect drew off to a 1 3/4-length victory at 8-1 over 8-5 favorite Coffeewithchris. Although he had only one victory, a second and a third in eight career starts, he was a fast-closing third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and was second to Two Phil’s in the Street Sense Stakes and fourth in the Iroquois Stakes, all at Churchill Downs. From a Kentucky historic standpoint he is owned and bred by Dixiana Farms, which has been around since 1877.

A sleeper to watch in the Arkansas Derby is TWO EAGLES RIVER, who really seems to be coming into his own for trainer Chris Hartman with an impressive front-running victory over Disarm in a one-mile allowance race and then turning in brilliant works of :47 flat for a half and :59 flat for five-furlongs. What I loved most about his allowance score was his action in the stretch and the way he was striding out, as well as his fast closing fractions. I’m not sure how far he wants to go, as there is a lot of speed in the bottom of his pedigree, but the way he won that allowance race it looks like he should be dangerous up to at least 1 1/8 miles and we’ll take it from there after that.

Looking ahead to the Santa Anita Derby, trainer Terunobu Fujita is excited about running MANDARIN HERO, who is coming off a fast-closing second in a 1 1/8-mile stakes on February 23. Fujita has always dreamed of running a horse in the Santa Anita Derby, having visited the track. He says the colt’s big weapon is his acceleration in the stretch and how he loves to “chase down other horses.” He is scheduled to arrive at LAX on March 29.

But if Baffert is planning on running CAVE ROCK for his first start of the year, the trainers with Derby horses better beware. Last year’s California sensation, who I believe has more natural talent than any of them, has been tearing up the track in the morning with a pair of :58 and change works and now an outstanding  seven-furlong drill in 1:25 1/5. Layoff or no layoff, if he runs in the Santa Anita Derby he could dash a lot of Derby hopes. And no matter who wins the Kentucky Derby I wouldn’t want to face him in the Preakness.

In the forgotten horse department, we have ARCTIC ARROGANCE, second in the Remsen, Jerome, and Withers, the last with blinkers added. This is one tough horse who has battled for the lead in his last five starts and already has two 1 1/8-mile races under his belt. Whether Linda Rice takes the blinkers off for the Wood Memorial we will see. Also forgotten is the horse who beat him in the Remsen, DUBYUHNELL, who ran terribly in the Sam F. Davis Stakes after steadying early. But he has been working at Palm Meadows, with a recent half-mile breeze in :48 2/5.

I haven’t been able to find out what happened to BLAZING SEVENS in the Fountain of Youth, but the good sign is that he returned to the work tab with a half-mile breeze in :49 1/5 at Payson Park. At Gulfstream Park, CYCLONE MISCHIEF, third in the Fountain of Youth, worked a half in :48 2/5 for a likely start in the Florida Derby.

I doubt that last Wednesday’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes at Kempton in England had any bearing on the Derby, as the winner, BRAVE EMPEROR, won by only a head, but it at least must be pointed out that the Irish-bred gelding by Scat Daddy’s son Sioux Nation has now won six straight and was coming off a listed victory in France.


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