Kentucky Derby Top 10: Pros and cons of the top contenders

July 27th, 2020

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

1. Honor A. P.

Pros: He took a big step forward in his second start of 2020, when he won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) for fun, with a strong 108 Brisnet Speed rating. Runner-up Authentic returned to win the Haskell (G1).

Cons: Has never raced outside of California.

2. Tiz the Law

Pros: This three-time Grade 1 winner boasts a 108 Brisnet Speed rating and ranks as the most accomplished horse on the Derby trail. His Belmont Stakes (G1) victory was achieved with authority.

Cons: The key rivals he has defeated this season — Dr Post, Shivaree, and Ete Indien — have not fared very well in recent starts.

3. Art Collector

Pros: This rapidly improving youngster loves Churchill Downs and should handle 1 1/4 miles without difficulty. He scored a clear victory in the Blue Grass (G2) and put up a 104 Brisnet Speed rating.

Cons: He aas yet to face the elite of the division, so it’s hard to gauge how he stacks up against Honor A. P. and Tiz the Law.

4. Uncle Chuck

Pros: He finished strongly in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) to remain unbeaten and unchallenged in two starts. The son of Uncle Mo could be a star in the making.

Cons: He is lightly raced and will need to develop rapidly to vie for victory in the Kentucky Derby.

5. Authentic

Pros: This three-time graded stakes winner has abundant tactical speed and a penchant for finding the winner’s circle.

Cons: He just barely held on to win the Haskell (G1) at 1 1/8 miles and could be questionable over the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby.

6. King Guillermo

Pros: He held his own against tough company during the winter and spring. He has the tactical speed to be prominent from the outset, which is a very effective running style in the Kentucky Derby.

Cons: He’ll enter the Derby off a four-month layoff, so stiff training will be critical to ensure his fitness.

7. Country Grammer

Pros: This stoutly bred colt is 2-for-2 racing 1 1/8 miles and showed tenacity to win the Peter Pan (G3) with a rail-skimming trip. He is still improving and should enjoy 1 1/4 miles.

Cons: The 97 Brisnet Speed rating he posted in the Peter Pan is a little light, compared to the numbers put up by other top Derby contenders.

8. Dr Post

Pros: He wasn’t badly beaten over a speed-favoring track in the Haskell (G1) and boasts a trio of triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings.

Cons: He might be more effective racing around one turn, as he demonstrated when he finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

9. Ny Traffic

Pros: He dug deep in the homestretch of the Haskell (G1) to fall a nose short against Authentic and earned a career-best 107 Brisnet Speed Rating.

Cons: Though he has cracked the trifecta in four straight Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races. Ny Traffic is 0-for-6 in stakes company.

10. Shared Sense

Pros: He finally got a fair setup in the Indiana Derby (G3) and won going away, with a :12.23 final furlong and a 102 Brisnet Speed rating. A strong effort in the Aug. 9 Ellis Park Derby should secure him a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate.

Cons: A one-dimensional deep closer is reliant on a quick pace to enhance his late rally.