The Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard is already stacked with promising juveniles who have shown potential in major stakes races. Storm the Court, Anneau d’Or, Thousand Words, and Tiz the Law are among the youngsters who have already earned qualification points toward the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Dozens of less-heralded 2-year-olds are poised to shine as the winter progresses and competition on the Derby trail heats up. The following five juveniles have yet to compete in a Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep race, but they’ve shown enough talent to suggest they’ll be major players when they do:
As Seen On Tv
With two wins from three starts, including a triumph as the 13-10 favorite in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park, As Seen On Tv is already an accomplished runner for Belmont Stakes (G1)-winning trainer Kelly Breen. His lone defeat came against speedy Nashua (G3) runner-up Meru in the Smoke Glacken at Monmouth Park. In the Juvenile Sprint, As Seen On Tv posted an excellent 101 Brisnet Speed rating.
What’s really exciting is As Seen On Tv’s pedigree. As a son of Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Lookin At Lucky and out of a mare by the stoutly-bred Pulpit, As Seen On Tv is bred to relish classic distances. For as much talent as he’s shown sprinting, he should only improve when running long down the road. We are eligible to see plenty of this colt on TV next spring.
After finishing second in his debut, beaten a nose by future stakes winner South Bend, Answer In delivered an eye-catching performance in a seven-furlong maiden sprint at Churchill Downs. Favored at odds of 1-2, Answer In tracked the early pace, rallied to lead at the top of the stretch, and pulled away under a strong hand ride to win by 5 1/4 lengths over next-out winner Race Driver.
By sprinting the final furlong in a quick :12.14, Answer In gave the impression he’ll have no trouble stretching out in distance. He closed at 64-1 in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 and will seek to gain his first Derby qualification points in the Dec. 15 Remington Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park.
Blackberry Wine is bred like a classic winner. His sire, Oxbow, won the 2013 Preakness Stakes (G1), while damsire A.P. Indy scored in the 1992 Belmont Stakes (G1).
Beaten in his first three starts running short on dirt and long on turf, Blackberry Wine relished the chance to tackle a dirt route at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30. Sent off at odds of 5-1 by unsuspecting bettors, Blackberry Wine sprinted to the front and widened his lead easily in the stretch to win eased up by 5 3/4 lengths.
This runaway victory earned Blackberry Wine a solid 93 Brisnet Speed figure, and his pedigree suggests he’ll only improve with maturity. This Calumet Farm homebred can be a player next year for trainer Joe Sharp.
Honor A. P.
Trainer John Shirreffs sprung a 50-1 upset with Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, and Honor A. P. could put him back at Churchill Downs next spring. Second in his debut sprinting at Del Mar, the exciting son of champion Honor Code stretched out to a mile at Santa Anita and led all the way to win by 5 1/4 lengths as the 1-2 favorite.
Honor A. P.’s triumph produced a solid 97 Brisnet Speed figure, placing him among the faster members of his generation so far. His dam, Hollywood Story, was a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/8 miles, and Honor A. P. has the pedigree to succeed over classic distances. He closed at 25-1 in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1.
Undefeated in three starts for three-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, Structor has demonstrated a high level of form on grass, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Pilgrim Stakes (G3) with strong homestretch rallies.
As a son of 2013 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice, Structor has the pedigree to be just as effective on dirt, a scary prospect for his potential rivals on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Brown plans to try Structor on the main track this winter, so stay tuned for further developments.