Top Ten Derby Contenders, Updated

by Greg Melikov

posted on April 28, 2011 in Free Picks and Tips, Handicapping, Kentucky Derby | No Comments >>

Top 10 ListScores of upsets in major preps and injuries have muddled my Top 10 Kentucky Derby contenders. But here’s my final list from the bottom to the top:

Stay Thirsty: Although the son of Bernardini ran poorly in the Florida Derby, he did defeat Wood Memorial victor Toby’s Corner in the Gotham. On April 24, he breezed five furlongs on as sloppy Churchill Downs main track in a minute, the fastest of 19 runners.

Soldat: The son of War Front didn’t run well in the Florida Derby, but few sophomores have recorded back-to-back victories this year. If the Louisville track comes up sloppy like it did earlier this week, his stock rises considerably. He has won twice at 1 1/8 miles, including the Fountain of Youth and an allowance contest on an off track.

Nehro: While the runner-up in two major preps only broke his maiden in February, the son of Mineshaft has become the buzz horse. With a 20-horse field, I suggest flipping a coin to include him in the exotics.

Pants on Fire: Winner of the Louisiana Derby likes to set the pace or sit just off it. The son of Jump Start could go to the front since some speed horses will be on the sidelines. But it’s not exactly the best running style for this big dance.

Midnight Interlude: Another maiden only winner, but it was the Santa Anita Derby despite a troubled stretch run during which he was steadied off the heels of the pacesetter. However, last SA Derby champ to score in the first Triple Crown event was Sunday Silence in 1989.

Uncle Mo: Instead of giving it the gas in the Wood Memorial heading down the stretch, the son of Indian Charlie came out of the race with a gastrointestinal infection, but managed to finish third. The ‘10 champion 2-year-old won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, where he breezed five furlongs in the slop with a stablemate in 1:01 4/5 on Tuesday, galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 3/5.

Toby’s Corner: The son of Bellamy Road, who won the ’05 Wood by more than 17 lengths, captured the same stakes race by a neck, and has triumphed in four routes. Get that coin out again.

Mucho Macho Man: The gutsy horse will have his shoes glued on, too, after losing one leaving the gate in the Louisiana Derby, but managed a third. After a troubled fourth in the Holy Bull, the son of Macho Uno took the Risen Star. Experience is the best teacher.

Archarcharch: This son of Arch has impressed with two victories in preps while rewarding backers with double-digit payouts. Hi running style and tactical speed makes him a big threat.

Dialed In: Another son of Mineshaft will be the likely favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Horses exiting the Florida Derby, which the colt won, do well in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. One criticism of the lightly-raced colt is he hasn’t worked much between races, but that’s his training technique. He debuted last year with a victory in a sprint at Churchill Downs. But the last horse to win the Derby with only four career starts was Exterminator back in 1918.