McCraken went 3-for-3 last year, including a convincing win in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs to establish himself as a top contender for the 2017 Kentucky Derby on May 6, but the Ghostzapper colt was still lacking from a BRIS Speed rating perspective after earning 94 and 93 numbers in his final juvenile appearances.

He improved his standing while launching his 3-year-old season with a victory in the Sam F. Davis (G3) on February 11, registering a 99 Speed figure for the 1 ½-length decision at Tampa Bay Downs. McCraken also earned a career-best 103 BRIS Late Pace rating while offering another stout rally from off the pace.

The 99 Speed rating puts McCraken close to the leading performers in 2017 and his numbers are eligible to keep increasing as he continues to develop for trainer Ian Wilkes.

Tapwrit finished second in the Sam Davis while making his first appearance in a Kentucky Derby qualifier, producing a 97 BRIS Speed rating on par with the 98 he earned capturing the off-the-turf Pulpit in his previous outing. Woodbine maiden victor State of Honor still hasn’t won on a dirt track but improved with the addition of blinkers in the Sam Davis, generating a career-best 96 Speed number.

Below are the BRIS Speed ratings (90 or better) registered in Kentucky Derby qualifying races by top four finishers (asterisk denotes number earned in 2016):

Horse

 

Race (finish position)

 

BRIS Speed

*Classic Empire

 

BC Juv. (1st)

 

108

Gormley

 

Sham (1st)

 

102

Irish War Cry

 

Holy Bull (1st)

 

102

American Anthem

 

Sham (2nd)

 

102

*Mo Town

 

Remsen (1st)

 

101

El Areeb

 

Jerome (1st)

 

100

El Areeb

 

Withers (1st)

 

99

McCraken

 

Sam Davis (1st)

 

99

*Mastery

 

Los Al Futurity (1st)

 

99

*No Dozing

 

Remsen (2nd)

 

98

*Practical Joke

 

BC Juv. (3rd)

 

98

Uncontested

 

Smarty Jones (1st)

 

97

Gunnevera

 

Holy Bull (2nd)

 

97

Tapwrit

 

Sam Davis (2nd)

 

97

*Gormley

 

FrontRunner (1st)

 

97

*Practical Joke

 

Champagne (1st)

 

97

*Gunnevera

 

Delta Jackpot (1st)

 

96

State of Honor

 

Sam Davis (3rd)

 

96

Royal Mo

 

Robert Lewis (1st)

 

95

Wild Shot

 

Sam Davis (4th)

 

95

True Timber

 

Withers (2nd)

 

94

*Classic Empire

 

Breeders’ Futurity (1st)

 

94

J Boys Echo

 

Withers (3rd)

 

93

*McCraken

 

Ky Jockey Club (1st)

 

93

*Guest Suite

 

Lecomte (1st)

 

93

*Lookin at Lee

 

BC Juv. (4th)

 

93

Classic Empire

 

Holy Bull (3rd)

 

92

*Wild Shot

 

Ky Jockey Club (2nd)

 

92

Irap

 

Robert Lewis (2nd)

 

91

Petrov

 

Smarty Jones (2nd)

 

91

Untrapped

 

Lecomte (2nd)

 

91

Sheer Flattery

 

Robert Lewis (3rd)

 

90

*Lookin at Lee

 

Breeders’ Futurity (2nd)

 

90