Kentucky Derby Top 10: Change is coming

January 27th, 2020

Call it the calm before the storm.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby will take some serious turns Saturday. The agenda of prep races includes the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita.

Last week was relatively quiet. Gold Street was an easy, gate-to-wire winner of the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park, but a speed-favoring track enhanced his chances. His effort wasn’t quite enough to crack my Kentucky Derby Top 10, but you can expect some major changes next week.

1. Nadal

His impressive maiden win produced a 94 Brisnet Speed rating, a solid enough figure for a first-time starter bred to run long. Nadal appeared to be just getting started at the end of 6 1/2 furlongs and could have gone around the track again if needed.

2. Blackberry Wine

His form received a subtle boost over the weekend, when Bodecream, who finished ahead of Blackberry Wine in a turf allowance race at Fair Grounds in December, returned to upset the $200,000 Texas Turf Mile at Sam Houston.

3. Anneau d’Or

He fired off a nice stamina-building workout Saturday, when he covered 6 furlongs in 1:13.40 at Golden Gate Fields.

4. Thousand Words

Trainer Bob Baffert has called an audible and will run Thousand Words in the Robert B. Lewis. Thousand Words worked a half-mile in :48.20 Monday morning.

5. Maxfield

We’re still waiting for Maxfield’s first timed workout of the year. Time is running out if he’s going to return in time to contest a couple of Kentucky Derby prep races.

6. Storm the Court

The newly crowned champion 2-year-old male of 2019 will make his sophomore debut in the Feb. 9 San Vicente (G2) sprinting 7 furlongs at Santa Anita.

7. Tiz the Law

He wrapped up his preparations for the Holy Bull by clocking a bullet half-mile in :48 flat at Palm Meadows. He appears sharp and ready to roll.

8. Authentic

With stablemate Thousand Words heading for the Robert B. Lewis, it looks like Authentic will wait a little longer for his to the races. He stayed sharp with a quick half-mile workout in :47.80 Wednesday at Santa Anita.

9. Dennis’ Moment

He’s still taking things easy at Gulfstream Park, where he logged a half-mile work in :48.15 on Saturday. Expect his works to pick up as the Feb. 29 Fountain of Youth (G2) draws closer.

10. Dieu du Vin

It’s a toss-up between Japan’s Dieu du Vin and As Seen On Tv for the 10th spot. I’ll give the edge to Dieu du Vin this week, since he’s been nominated to the Mar. 28 UAE Derby (G2) in Dubai, which gives him another option to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.