The 147th Kentucky Derby is a little over 10 weeks away, and it’s never too early to talk about the “Run for the Roses.” The major prep races have yet to be contested, though numerous three-year-olds have already displayed considerable ability and seem poised to move forward as the season progresses. I believe that this is among the best crops of sophomores that we have witnessed in a few years.
Here is my early Top 10:
- Greatest Honour — Holy Bull S. (G3) romper is rapidly ascending for conditioner Shug McGaughey. Tapit colt is from a family with multiple classic winners in it, and the rising star will handle the Derby distance with relative ease. I was surprised to see him close at 40-1 odds in the second pool of the KDFW.
- Mandaloun — Juddmonte homebred is once-beaten from four career tries for Brad Cox, who has a pair of major contenders on my list. Son of Into Mischief continues to get faster with each race (84-92-94-100), a trend that I love. Colt is built like a stayer, and he also possesses the early speed to be involved from the start.
- Life is Good — Baffert pupil has aced both career assignments in front-running fashion, led by a tally in the Sham S. (G3) last time out. Fleet colt continues to train in fine fashion, and I have no idea just how good the son of Into Mischief can be. He closed as the individual favorite in the first three Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools.
- Concert Tour — The second from the Baffert shedrow captured the San Vicente S. (G2) to move his mark to two-for-two. While I have not been overly impressed with him to date, I do feel that he will vault forward when stretching out to two-turn racing.
- Prevalence — Medaglia d’Oro colt was ultra impressive in a dazzling debut at Gulfstream Park. Godolphin homebred lacks seasoning, but the sky appears to be the limit for the well-bred bay.
- Risk Taking — Klaravich color bearer has morphed into a new animal since adding blinkers for Chad Brown. Withers S. (G3) victor will handle a classic distance with ease, and the three-year-old could move up on this list if he improves in his next assignment.
- Essential Quality — Juvenile champ continues to work towards his 2021 debut for Brad Cox. Unbeaten son of the mighty Tapit has a nice foundation under him, and he will return to action in the Feb. 27 Southwest S. (G3).
- Tarantino — Brisset charge made a big move forward in his dirt debut when runner-up in the Holy Bull. Pioneerof the Nile colt is bred to run all day, and improvement is expected going forward from the talented sophomore.
- Olympiad — Mott trainee is a longshot on the list since he has not worked since mid-January, but he left quite the impression on me in his maiden win last campaign when toppling a superb field at Saratoga. I am hopeful that the son of Speightstown will return to the track real soon.
- Clairiere — Asmussen-trained filly might never face the boys and go down the Derby Trail, but I came away super impressed with her ability and athleticism when she took the Rachel Alexandra S. (G2) off the layoff. Daughter of Curlin has a very bright future.