Kentucky Derby Top 10: Honor A. P. still No. 1

August 4th, 2020

Keeler Johnson shares his weekly list of Top 10 contenders for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

1. Honor A. P.

Though some were disappointed by Honor A. P.’s defeat in the Shared Belief S. at Del Mar, I thought he ran deceptively well.

On a day when the rail was the best part of the track, Honor A. P. broke slowly, made an early move to reach contention, and raced wide throughout to finish second by less than a length, against a ground-saving winner.

Considering he entered the Shared Belief off a two-month layoff and was short of peak fitness, Honor A. P. ran well under adverse circumstances, and I expect him to improve significantly in the Kentucky Derby.

2. Tiz the Law

With the defeat of Honor A. P. in the Shared Belief, Tiz the Law can become an overwhelming Kentucky Derby favorite, if he prevails as expected in Saturday’s Travers (G1) at Saratoga.

A loss would throw the Derby picture wide open, but Tiz the Law appears to be as sharp as ever when he breezed a rapid 5 furlongs in :59.94 Saturday at Saratoga.

3. Art Collector

With a pair of triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings under his belt, Art Collector is already fast enough to vie for victory in the Kentucky Derby.

The key now is to arrive at Churchill Downs in tip-top shape for the toughest test of his career. To that end, he’ll stay fit with a run in Sunday’s Ellis Park Derby.

4. Uncle Chuck

He continues to train up a storm at Del Mar, where he clocked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 Saturday, the fastest of 71 morning workouts at that distance.

His decisive victory in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) was flattered when runner-up Thousand Words returned to upset Honor A. P. in the Shared Belief.

5. Authentic

With steadily ascending Brisnet Speed ratings of 91, 97, 97, 105, and 107, it’s clear Authentic is improving with maturity.

Talent isn’t a question mark for this speedy son of Into Mischief. It’s the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby that might prove to be a stumbling block.

6. King Guillermo

He shipped to Churchill Downs last week, which means he will get a head start training over the local surface.

He previously worked strongly down at Gulfstream Park, so we’ll see if he can translate his sharp training to Louisville’s famous oval.

7. Country Grammer

We’ll find out whether this late-maturing son of Tonalist can handle the elite of the division when he tackles Tiz the Law and Uncle Chuck in the Travers.

The 1 1/4-mile distance should be right up his alley. The jump in class is a bigger question mark.

8. Thousand Words

A two-time graded stakes winner during the winter, Thousand Words went off form in the spring but rebounded in a big way to wire the Shared Belief.

Beating Honor A. P. is a major feather in Thousand Words’ cap, though he did benefit from racing over a favorable part of the track.

9. Ny Traffic

He has taken things easy in the two weeks since the Haskell (G1), probably a wise strategy, considering Ny Traffic contested four Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races in the span of five months.

This durable colt seems to have thrived on his busy schedule, but he still needs to develop a winning instinct.

10. Shared Sense

He clocked a half-mile in :50.40 Sunday at Churchill Downs, with an eye toward competing in the Ellis Park Derby.

With just 20 Kentucky Derby qualification points under his belt, a first- or second-place finish at Ellis Park may be necessary to secure Shared Sense a spot in the Derby starting gate.