Kentucky Derby Top 10: Tiz the Law, Honor A. P. lead the charge

July 6th, 2020

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

1. Tiz the Law

The runaway winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) might be undefeated if not for a troubled trip in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall.

No one has come close to beating Tiz the Law this season, so with his Triple Crown dreams alive and well, this three-time Grade 1 winner will prep for the Derby with a run in Saratoga’s historic Travers (G1) on Aug. 8.

2. Honor A. P.

This rapidly improving colt threw down a 108 Brisnet Speed rating when he rallied to victory in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), his first stakes triumph.

Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by Mike Smith — the same team behind 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo — this stoutly bred colt will use the Aug. 1 Shared Belief S. at Del Mar as his final prep for the first Saturday in September.

3. Art Collector

This exciting colt unleashed a furious finish in a June 13 allowance at Churchill Downs, where he sprinted the final five-sixteenths in :28.89 to dominate by 6 1/2 lengths, with a 103 Brisnet Speed rating.

The son of 2006 Preakness (G1) winner Bernardini is slated to use the July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland as a possible springboard to the Kentucky Derby.

4. Uncle Chuck

Trainer Bob Baffert’s latest 3-year-old star brought his record to 2-for-2 with a romping victory in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3).

The speedy son of Uncle Mo showed a new dimension. He rated off the lead and sprinted the final 3 furlongs in :36.26 to win by four lengths over his accomplished stablemate, Thousand Words.

The question is, can Uncle Chuck progress quickly enough to win the Derby less than three months after his debut?

5. Cafe Pharoah

The undefeated Japanese sensation has shown he can win with any running style and demonstrated a strong finishing kick to dominate the Unicorn (G3) at Tokyo Racecourse by five lengths.

He is entered to compete in the July 8 Japan Dirt Derby at Oi Racecourse, and a victory in the 2,000-meter test would cement his status as Japan’s most talented Kentucky Derby hopeful to date.

6. Authentic

The San Felipe (G2) winner lost his unbeaten record when he finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, but he was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Honor A. P. and was returning from a three-month layoff.

Authentic took some time off in April and figures to improve in his second start back, which will come in the July 18 Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park.

7. King Guillermo

The runaway winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), King Guillermo wasn’t disgraced when he finished second against the undefeated Nadal in the second division of the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Training up to the Kentucky Derby means King Guillermo is flying under the radar, but with his tactical speed and competitive Brisnet Speed ratings, this son of Uncle Mo can be a factor on the first Saturday in September.

8. Dr Post

Though he was no match for Tiz the Law in the Belmont, Dr Post ran gamely in defeat. He gained ground through fast finishing fractions to come in second by 3 3/4 lengths.

The winner of the Unbridled S. at Gulfstream Park, this late-maturing son of Quality Road is on the rise for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. The Haskell or Travers could be next on Dr Post’s agenda.

9. Cezanne

Sold for $3.65 million as a 2-year-old, Cezanne is playing catch-up for Baffert, but the son of Curlin picked up his second win from as many starts when he cruised to victory in a 1-mile allowance Thursday at Los Alamitos.

A very professional runner who seems to only run as fast as he needs to win, Cezanne is running out of time to gain Kentucky Derby qualification points, so his next run figures to come against stakes company.

10. Creed

Though Creed isn’t nominated to the Triple Crown, the Shug McGaughey-trained colt made a great impression when he rallied to win a 1 1/16-mile allowance Thursday at Belmont, where he swept past rivals late to win with something left in the tank.

The son of Honor Code could potentially take aim at the Travers, and a sharp effort at Saratoga would make supplementing Creed to the Derby an enticing prospect.