Under-the-radar Kentucky Derby contenders, volume 22

June 30th, 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.


It’s easy to forget about Enforceable, since he hasn’t run in three months, but this stoutly bred son of Tapit could enjoy a strong summer for trainer Mark Casse.

A sibling to graded stakes winners Kingly, Mohaymen, and New Year’s Day — all major winners around two turns — Enforceable showed promise during the winter, when he won the Lecomte (G3) and finished second in a division of the Risen Star (G2), before he flattened out to run fifth in the March 21 Louisiana Derby (G2).

Enforceable’s form slipped by the end of winter, but the late-running gray took time off and appears to be bouncing back.

He has fired off a series of fast workouts at Casse Training Center this month. He most recently went 5 furlongs from the gate in :58.80, and he is scheduled to return to action in the July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. A strong effort off the layoff could propel Enforceable back into the Derby picture.

South Bend

A son of Algorithms owned by Sagamore Farm, South Bend showed plenty of promise as a juvenile.

Under the care of Stanley Hough, South Bend won his first three starts with strong late rallies. He most notably defeated graded stakes winners Fighting Seabee, Silver Prospector, and Shotski in the 1-mile Street Sense S. at Churchill Downs.

South Bend has subsequently lost eight straight races, including five in a row on grass, but he showed signs of reawakening when he returned to dirt for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown.

After he settled in 10th place, behind fast fractions, South Bend rallied strongly under Rafael Bejarano to finish second, beaten less than a length.

That effort secured South Bend eight qualification points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which places him 27th on the leaderboard.

With his proven affinity for Churchill Downs, South Bend could reemerge as a major Kentucky Derby contender, if he continues to progress.