Under-the-radar Kentucky Derby contenders, volume 2

February 3rd, 2020

A weekly look at under the radar 3-year-olds who could step up and make an impact on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Answer In

A powerful maiden winner sprinting 7 furlongs at Churchill Downs, Answer In endured a tough trip when he finished second in the Dec. 15 Remington Springboard Mile. The son of Dialed In was forced to race in tight quarters along the rail while he bid for the lead in the homestretch and may have been a bit intimidated by his position.

Considering he only lost by a head to the Grade 1-placed Shoplifted, it’s fair to wonder if Answer In would have won with a clean run. This Brad Cox-trained colt is training forwardly at Oaklawn with an eye on the Feb. 17 Southwest (G3).



Although he’s yet to run on dirt, Hieronymus has shown a world of talent on grass. After he beat next-out winners Bodecream and Blackberry Wine in a Dec. 28 allowance race at Fair Grounds, Hieronymus kicked off his 2020 campaign with a frontrunning, 9 3/4-length romp in the 1-mile Randy P. Romero Memorial Overnight S.

A Godolphin homebred trained by Cox, Hieronymus is a son of Vosburgh (G1) winner Girolamo, out of a mare by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Pleasantly Perfect, so he has the breeding and running style to excel on dirt.

Mailman Money

The undefeated Mailman Money has his sights set on the Feb. 15 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. Judging from his first two starts, this son of Goldencents will be a live contender.

In his debut sprinting 6 furlongs Nov. 30 at Churchill Downs, Mailman Money rallied from just off the pace to defeat the capable Digital by three-quarters of a length. He fared even better when stretched out to a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds on Jan. 12, when he employed pace-tracking tactics to romp home in front by 5 3/4 lengths. Mailman Money is on the rise for trainer Bret Calhoun.

Premier Star

A son of Tapiture trained by Jorge Navarro, Premier Star has shown talent sprinting at Gulfstream Park. In his debut going 7 furlongs on Dec. 8, he edged next-out winner Caracaro by 1 3/4 lengths in the solid time of 1:23.08.

Premier Star then romped by 5 1/4 lengths in an allowance race over the same distance to stop the timer in 1:23.15, eased up through the final 70 yards. Only time will tell how far he wants to run, but this $100,000 auction purchase could be something special.