A little over a year ago in this space I compiled a list of six horses to watch in advance of the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1). The group was comprised of recent Triple Crown nominees with little-to-no stakes experience who seemingly possessed plenty of upside. Unfortunately, only one — Vino Rosso — made reasonably good with a subsequent victory in the Wood Memorial (G2). Of course, I gave little consideration to any Triple Crown nominee that had not yet broken his maiden much less not even made his first start. I obviously had no inside scoop at the time about Justify, who at the time was still nearly two weeks away from his first race. With more than a century of history going against such a horse, who in their right mind would have placed an unraced colt on such a list much less felt he could become a Triple Crown winner? However, It’s telling that I felt listing as many as six horses at all. My takeaway from that is I was right to be less-than-enthused about what I’d seen from the crop up to that point. In retrospect, the situation was ripe for a horse like Justify to come along and re-write the history books. This season seems different. I’m fairly sure the eventual Derby winner has made himself known to the wider public by now. That’s not to say perusing the Triple Crown nominations list hoping to uncover some horses currently under the radar is not worthwhile, but there will be a lot fewer of them for me this time around. Here are but a mere two colts we might be hearing more from in the weeks and months ahead. EXTRA HOPE — Already has a couple Derby qualifying points in his pocket thanks to a distant third-place finish behind the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Improbable and Mucho Gusto in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1). Was forced very wide into the clubhouse turn by an errant rival that day and could never get on terms with the above two after that. Has won two of his other starts around two turns in convincing style, including a January 31 allowance in the slop. It’ll be interesting to see how much he’s able to close the gap on his peers in an upcoming prep. U S NAVY CROSS — Curlin half-brother to a pair of Grade 3 winners rallied nicely to score first out going seven furlongs at Belmont in September, so much so he received a good deal of support in the Nashua (G3). However, he made little impact when finishing a distant fourth behind Vekoma, who was followed by the capable Network Effect and Call Paul. Has only just returned to the worktab after missing most of December and all of January, and latest breeze was on turf, a surface a pair of siblings excelled over. Though a little behind in training, hoping his connections — owners Peter Brant and Joe Allen and trainer Chad Brown — don’t give up on dirt quite yet. Click here for FREE Brisnet Past Performances for all Triple Crown nominees.   (c) Coady Photography