With champion two-year-old male Shared Belief and Remsen Stakes winner Honor Code both unraced as three-year-olds, I’ve looked forward to each weekend of the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby Championship Series as a chance for some sophomore to take up the mantle as top Triple Crown contender, but through the first three 85-point races none has emerged.

Tapiture’s Southwest and Cairo Prince’s Holy Bull rank as the top efforts by a three-year-old male to date with Candy Boy’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes win a distant third, but none of those wins showed the talent either Honor Code or Shared Belief had as juveniles, which is why I still have them ranked one-two, respectively, in my Derby poll.

Honor Code missed about 3 ½ weeks of training and a scheduled start in the Fountain of Youth Stakes but has worked four times since February 12 and is on course to make his three-year-old debut in the Rebel Stakes on March 15 at Oaklawn Park.

Shared Belief’s position is more tenuous, as he has not worked for more than two months and has shipped north to Golden Gate Fields to train on the Tapeta Footings synthetic surface. Water cooler chatter says he might make the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 12 at Keeneland Race Course with the Preakness Stakes on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course more likely than the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands two weeks earlier at Churchill Downs.

Still, I thought he was the best two-year-old, and I won’t fully give up on him until he’s off the Derby trail, though inactivity when the 170-point races start will make it tougher for me to keep him on the Derby podium.

Honor Code, Tapiture, and Cairo Prince were inaugural members of THE CLUB, and Samraat joined them following his gritty Gotham Stakes win that left the New York-bred son of Noble Causeway undefeated though five starts.

Like Sean Feld says, “When you’re undefeated and keeping winning you gotta get in THE CLUB.” Next up on the list is Bayern, who could part THE CLUB’s velvet rope with a win in the San Felipe Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Also on this weekend is the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, but it’s tough to see anyone from that race getting in THE CLUB without ordering bottle service or having a few fillies on their hooves.

All THE CLUB talk you can handle plus rolled meats outside a Speedway Gas Station near the historic Red Mile in Lexington in the video below: