These rankings reflect the author’s evaluation of past, present, and projected form expressed in a theoretical true handicap (high weight 126 lbs.) at one mile and one-quarter at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, 2016.
(Updated May 3, 2016)
1 – NYQUIST (D. O’Neill) 126
Uncle Mo-Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry,
Latest workout: April 29, Kee, 1m-1:41b
Last start: April 2, GP, first, Florida Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (130) 7-7-0-0 - $2,322,600
$400,000 FTF March 2-year-old in training, Eclipse Award winning champion 2-year-old, athletic, medium-sized colt with fluid action, extremely tactical and versatile, 1st foal, dam modest maiden-claiming winner but a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning dam of Metropolitan Mile-G1 winner Sahara Sky; unbeaten in 7 starts and clearly has established himself as the favorite for the American classics following a resounding 3 ¼ length victory in 9F Florida Derby-G1 over track listed as good (broke sharply, established pace under some pressure, met favored Mohaymen’s challenge in upper stretch, drew clear while a bit erratic in final furlong but was strong to the wire); had made very favorable impression in 2016 debut in 7F San Vicente S.-G2 at Santa Anita in mid-February, establishing pace inside and fighting off all challengers to win by 1 ½ lengths from Exaggerator while earning a career top speed figure; had won all five starts as a 2yo including 8.5F Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 (by ½ length, extremely wide throughout, kept on gamely in a superior performance); the 8.5F FrontRunner S.-G1 (by ¾ length) at Santa Anita in October, 7F Del Mar Futurity-G1 (by 3 ¾ lengths) in September and 6.5F Best Pal S.-G2 (by 5 ¼ lengths) in August, defeating the same colt (Swipe) in each of his last four 2015 victories; pedigree leans much more to speed than stamina so Derby distance (and beyond) possibly could test his limit but is clearly a top class colt with extreme quality, currently preparing for Kentucky Derby-G1 at Keeneland Race Course.
2 – STRADIVARI (T. Pletcher) 122
Medaglia d’Oro-Bending Springs, by American Chance
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-1:01.2b
Last start: April 18, Kee, won, allowance
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (0) 3-2-0-0 $64,200
Strong, powerful, athletic colt with excellent tactical speed; fifth foal; first winner from multi-graded stakes winning sprinter; second dam (by Hail the Pirates) minor listed stakes winner; finished a distant fourth in debut over 7F at Aqueduct in November but left that form far behind with pair of subsequent eye-opening victories, defeating maidens by 11 lengths in December at Gulfstream Park in 8.5F off-the-turf race and then returning in mid-April to capture first-level allowance by 14 ½ lengths (never asked) after stalking early pace in hand and then taking over at will; earned graded stakes-quality speed figure in latter while giving impression of being capable of much more if needed; will stay classic distance and beyond; is expected to make next start in either Preakness S.-G1 or Peter Pan S.-G2 in mid-May before contesting Belmont S.-G1; exciting prospect with potential to be among the best of his crop.
3 - MOHAYMEN (K. McLaughlin) 122
Tapit-Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 4f-:47.2b
Last start: April 2, GP, fourth, Florida Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (80) 6-5-0-0 - $852,850
$2.2 million yearling, half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (by Street Cry); dam multiple Grade-2 winner; flawless, athletic action with tactical speed and the versatility to produce a quick burst or an elongated run, suffered first career defeat (fourth, beaten 8 lengths, to Nyquist) in Florida- Derby-G1 as 4/5 favorite (was wide throughout but was never going well, and after challenging for lead at quarter pole faded readily); previously had been highly impressive in five victories, including 8.5F Fountain of Youth S.-G2 at GP Feb. 27 (by 2 ¼ lengths from Zulu), and in Holy Bull S.G-2 (by 3 ½ lengths from Greenpointcrusader) the previous month; began career winning 6F maiden race by half-length at Belmont Park in September, the Nashua S.-G2 at 8F in November (by 1 ¾ lengths) and then the 9F Remsen S.-G2 (by 1 ½ lengths), the latter two races at Aqueduct in November and in both starts beating subsequent Jerome S.-G3 winner Flexibility; almost certain to stay the Derby’s 10-furlong distance and beyond; was forced to cover 54 more feet than Nyquist according to Trakus in most recent performance and may not have cared for wet/good surface; also was ridden from the gate in an attempt to secure forward placing and perhaps prefers to settle and produce a late run; very possibly can regain top form in Kentucky Derby-G1 and will be closely observed in workouts leading up to the race.
4 – DESTIN (T. Pletcher) 121
Giant’s Causeway-Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-1:01.2b
Last start: March 12, Tam, won, Tampa Bay Derby-G2
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (51) 5-3-1-0 $390,700
$400,000Y, full-brother to Creative Cause (Norfolk S.-G1, etc.); dam won Apple Blossom S.-G1 and 3 other graded stakes; rapidly developing and produced best performance in 5-race career when winning 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in mid-March by 1 length from stablemate Outwork with career-top speed figure (good tactical speed to press pace, prevailed final furlong); was nearly as impressive when capturing Sam F. Davis S.-G3 over same course in February (always within range, strong late kick by 2 ¼ lengths from Rafting); previously had finished fourth in 8.5F Le Comte S.-G3 (wide trip, beaten 5 lengths by Mo Tom), and second in 8F allowance race at Gulfstream Park in December (by 1 ¼ lengths to Goldenray) after winning 7F debut at Belmont Park in Oct. (by 1 length from Sea Wizard), pedigree suggests no distant limitations and seems likely to continue to improve with maturity; might be taking the worst of it in 10F Kentucky Derby-G1 due to difficult task of producing a peak effort following a two month layoff.
5 – GUN RUNNER (S. Asmussen) 121
Candy Ride-Quiet Giant, by Giant’s Causeway
Latest workout: May 2, CD, 4f-:50.2b
Last start: March 26. 28, FG, won, Louisiana Derby.-G2
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (151) 5-4-0-0 - $906,920
1st foal, dam 9F Gr. 2 winning half-sister to Horse of the Year Saint Liam and to 2 other listed SW’s; possesses tactical speed and employs a stalk/pounce style; has dominated Louisiana-based 3-year-olds in 2016 with two visually pleasing victories, the 9F Louisiana Derby-G2 (by 4 ½ lengths from Tom’s Ready) in late March and the 8.5F Risen Star S.-G2 at FG (by ½ length from Forevamo) the previous month; likely has further improvement in him; had won first two career starts in promising style, an 8F maiden at Churchill Downs in September and an 8.5F allowance race at Keeneland the following month (rallying from mid-pack in both); suffered only defeat in final juvenile outing when 4th (beaten 3 1/2 lengths) in productive Ky. Jockey Club S.G2 in November (struck front final furlong but weakened late); should stay classic trip and beyond, continues to progress but has yet to record a truly impressive speed figure so doubts remain concerning his top-end ability and the quality of the competition; Kentucky Derby-G1 will be his first race in six weeks, so training activity should be monitored closely.
6 – EXAGGERATOR (K. Desormeaux) 120
Curlin-Dawn Raid, by Vindication
Latest workout: April 30, CD, 5F-1:02.3b
Last start: April 9, SA, won, Santa Anita Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (126) 8-3-2-1 - $1,071,120
$110,000 yearling, 3rd foal, dam stakes-placed half-sister to Canadian champion mare Ember’s Song; turned in career top effort when rallying from nearly 17 lengths back to win Santa Anita Derby-G1 by 6 ¼ lengths from Mor Spirit in early April, producing an exceptional turn of foot when asked for run while wide entering far turn and continuing strongly to win going away (drifted in final furlong); extremely fast pace and sloppy (sealed) surface clearly aided his performance though the resulting speed figure was strong; previously had been considered by trainer to have distance limitations when finishing third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths, to Danzing Candy in 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 at Santa Anita in mid-March (settled off pace, commenced rally turn, loomed bold threat but flattened out final furlong); had been a strong runner-up in a highly-rated 7F San Vicente S.-G2 upon reappearance at Santa Anita in mid-February (by 1 1/2 lengths to Nyquist), keeping on well but unable to catch unbeaten champion; culminated busy juvenile campaign with game victory in muddy track 8.5F Delta Jackpot S.-G2 at Delta Downs in November (by 3/4 length from Sunny Ridge) after finishing fourth without mishap (beaten 3 lengths) in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile S.-G1 the previous month; bred for classic distance and finally gave indication in most recent start that longer trips can be within his scope (at least over a wet surface); chances in Kentucky Derby-G1 would clearly increase should track condition be something other than dry and fast.
7 – CREATOR (S. Asmussen) 119
Tapit-Morena, by Privately Held
Latest workout: May 2, CD, 4f-:50.3b
Last start: April 16, OP, first, Arkansas Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (110) 8-2-4-1 $768,320
2nd foal, dam champion older mare in Peru and was multiple graded stakes-placed in U.S., steadily progressing and produced best effort to date when rallying from last of 12 and 15 lengths off pace to capture 9F Arkansas Derby-G1 at Oaklawn Park from Suddenbreakingnews, taking full advantage of extreme race-shape favoring the closers to prove best by 1 ¼ length; previously had employed similar deep closing style when finishing third (beaten 3 lengths by Cupid) in 8.5F Risen Star S.-G2 in mid-March; had won 8.5F maiden over same track and distance in 6th career start the previous month impressively by 7 lengths; has no tactical speed but can produce an extended late kick and should handle a classic distance and beyond; pace and trip dependent at this stage of his career; must be considered a contender for 10F Kentucky Derby-G1 but clearly is in need of fast early fractions to aid his deep closing style.
8 – MO TOM (T. Amoss) 119
Uncle Mo-Caroni, by Rubiano
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 4f-:48.3b
Last start: March 26, FG, third, Louisiana Derby.-G2
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (32) 7-3-0-3 - $291,526
$150,000 yearling; half-brother to stakes-winning fillies Beautician and Bella Castani, dam a half-sister to Grade-2 winning sprinter Kashatreya; employs a deep closing style; has been badly victimized by severe traffic troubles in last two outings, most recently in the 9F Louisiana Derby-G2 in late March when finishing fourth to Gun Runner (beaten 5 ¾ lengths) after being forced to check and steady twice in the final furlong when appearing to be full of run); was also extremely unlucky when a belated third to Gun Runner (by 1 ½ lengths) in 8.5F Risen Star S.-G2 at FG the previous month (checked sharply, altered course upper stretch, finished well when clear but too late); previously had won mile-70 Le Comte S.-G3 at Fair Grounds, producing a strong kick to win going away impressively and the 8F Street Sense S. at Churchill Downs in November; style bodes well for success at classic distance though lack of tactical speed invites traffic trouble and pace-dependency; remains a legitimate Kentucky Derby-G1 prospect though his lack of tactical speed suggests he may never be in complete control of his own destiny.
9 – BRODY’S CAUSE (D. Romans) 119
Giant’s Causeway-Sweet Breanna, by Sahm
Latest workout: April 30, CD, 5f, 1:00.1b
Last start: April 9, Kee, won, Blue Grass S.-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (114) 6-3-0-1 - $1,223,138
$350,000 yearling, 2nd foal, half-brother to 8.5F stakes-placed Midnight Sweetie (by Midnight Lute); dam placed in Woodbine Oaks; regained best form and earned a career-top speed figure when capturing 14-runner 9F Blue Grass S.-G1 (by 1 ¾ lengths from My Man Sam), producing strong, steady run from 11th midway to be along in time while earning a moderate speed figure; had been highly disappointing in 3yo debut the previous month when producing no rally and winding up an inexplicable seventh (beaten 12 lengths) in 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2; enjoyed productive juvenile campaign, winning Breeders’ Futurity-G1 over muddy surface at Keeneland before turning in an admirable performance when third despite a wide trip (finding best stride too late) in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 to Nyquist; has excellent mixture of speed and stamina in female family; pedigree suggest classic distance and beyond should be within his range; appears to lack an exceptional turn of foot but can produce an effective, extended rally; won’t be without a long shot chance in Kentucky Derby-G1.
10 – UNIFIED (J. Jerkins) 119
Candy Ride-Union City, by Dixie Union
Latest workout: May 2, Bel, 3f-:38.2b TT
Last start: April 9, Aqu, first, Bay Shore S.-G3
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (0) 2-2-0-0 $204.000
$325,000Y, half-brother to listed stakes-placed Honkeytonk Man (by Bluegrass Cat); dam stakes-placed full-sister to Dixie City (Demoiselle S.-G2); family of champion 2yo Dehere; top quality prospect is unbeaten in two starts, winning highly-rated 6F maiden at Gulfstream Park by 3 lengths in February and then 7F Bay Shore S.-G3 over muddy (sealed) surface at Aqueduct in April by 3 lengths from King Kranz, setting pace inside under pressure and then drawing clear with authority while earning clocking .29 seconds faster than Carter S.-G1 for older sprinters an hour later; pedigree suggests he’ll stay at least a middle distance; appears ready to tackle best in division though participation in either Preakness S.-G1 or Belmont S.-G1 is questionable at best; much more likely to take a conservative path and be allowed to develop over time; expect 9F Peter Pan S.-G2 May 14 at Belmont Park to be strongly considered for next start.
11 - OUTWORK (T. Pletcher) 118
Uncle Mo-Nonna Mia, by Empire Maker
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-1:01b
Last start: April 9, Aqu, won, Wood Memorial S.-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (120) 4-3-1-0 $701,800
2nd foal, half-brother listed 8.5F SW Nonna’s Boy; dam Gr. 1 stakes-placed; brave in victory when fighting off long shot 80-1 maiden Trojan Nation to win moderately-rated 9F Wood Memorial S.-G1 over sealed/muddy track at Aqueduct in April, stalking pace throughout, taking clear lead furlong from home and then withstanding runner-up’s rail bid to survive by a head; had displayed considerable promise in previous start when establishing pace and then giving way grudgingly when second (beaten 1 length to stablemate Destin while 7 lengths clear of rest) in 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2); previously had won 6F allowance race at same track in February (by 4 1/4 lengths with pace-forcing trip) and 4.5F maiden juvenile previous April at Keeneland; probably will prove most effective as a miler but most recent victory guarantees a start in 10F Kentucky Derby-G1 next month; lightly-raced with plenty of upside but Derby trip could prove challenging.
12 - MOR SPIRIT (B. Baffert) 118
Eskendereya-Im A Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union
Latest workout: May 2, CD, 5f-:59.4b
Last start: April 2, SA, 2nd, Santa Anita Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (84) 7-3-4-0 - $658,400
$650,000 FTF March 2-year-old-in-training purchase, half-brother to 4 winners, dam (sprinter) was listed 2yo stakes winner and graded stakes-placed; performed below expectations when well-beaten second as 7/5 favorite in 9f Santa Anita Derby-G1 over sloppy/sealed surface in April, having every chance when ideally positioned in mid-pack off blazing pace but never accelerating and winding up 6 ½ lengths behind deep-closer Exaggerator; previously was beaten 2 lengths when second to Danzing Candy as 8/5 favorite in 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 at Santa Anita in mid-March (willing finish without mishap); had begun 2016 campaign on winning note in below standard 8.5F Robert B. Lewis S.-G2 at SA in early February, settling off slow pace and then wearing down leaders going away by 1 1/2 lengths from Uncle Lino; had employed similar tactics when winning Los Alamitos Futurity-G1 from distance-challenged stablemate Toews On Ice in December; finished second (to Airoforce) in Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G2 over sloppy track the previous month; likely to outstay pedigree and may enjoy Derby’s 12F trip though clearly is a grinding sort that lacks a true turn a foot.
13 - CUPID (B. Baffert) 117
Tapit-Pretty ‘N Smart, by Beau Genius
Latest workout: none since raced
Last Start: April 16, OP, tenth, Arkansas Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (50) 5-2-1-0 $590,357
$900,000Y, half-brother to 8 winners, including graded stakes winners Heart Ashley and Ashley’s Kitty and to listed stakes winner Indianapolis, dam stakes-placed sprinter; strong favorite (4/5) in 9F Arkansas Derby-G1 but disappointed badly after being sent hard from gate to stalk pace to top of stretch but then fading readily to wind up 10th of 12, beaten 11 lengths; was found to have suffered from entrapped epiglottis necessitating throat surgery and will miss the 10F Kentucky Derby-G1 though 9.5F Preakness in mid-May remains a possibility; had been highly impressive winning 8.5F Rebel S.-G2 in prior start, overcoming awkward break to quickly establish solid pace inside, lugging in sharply after straightening for home but then fighting off a strong challenge from Whitmore in deep stretch to record 1 ¼ length victory (galloped out full of run) with legitimate speed figure; previously had won eye-catching 8.5F SA maiden by 5 ¼ lengths despite poor trip (stumbled start, wide throughout); pedigree leans slightly more to speed than stamina but classic distances should be within his range; has proven capable of winning on the lead or from off the pace but may be most comfortable if held up early and allowed to produce a late run, quite capable of bouncing back if breathing issues are corrected.
14 - LANI (M. Matsunaga) 116
Tapit-Heavenly Romance, by Sunday Silence
Latest workout: May 3, CD, 5f-1:01b
Last start: March 26, Meydan, won, UAE Derby-G2
Ky. Derby qualifying points (100) 6-3-1-0 $1,366,118
6th foal, half-brother to 2 listed Japanese stakes winners, dam multi-listed stakes winner in Japan; qualified for entrance into the Kentucky Derby with victory in 9.5F UAE Derby-G2 at Meydan in late March despite a poor trip (bad stumble at break, wide throughout) to wear down previously unbeaten filly Polar River close home by ¾ length in time .06 seconds slower than clocking earned in same race last year by Mubtaahij (8th, beaten 9 lengths. to American Pharoah in subsequent 2015 Kentucky Derby); previously had won 2 of 5 starts in Japan including a 8F listed stakes in November; lacks a turn of foot and employs an extended, one-paced closing style; will stay classic distance and beyond; clearly a colt with some quality but form must be viewed with some suspicion and seems certain to be considered an outsider when making U.S. debut in first jewel of American Triple Crown.
15 – DANZING CANDY (C. Sise, Jr.) 116
Twirling Candy-Talkin and Singing, by Songandaprayer
Latest workout: April 30, SLRD, 5f-:59.4b
Last start: April 9, SA, fourth, Santa Anita Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points (50) 5-3-0-0 - $358,650
2nd foal, half-brother to minor winner; non-winning dam a half-sister to B.C. Turf-G1 winner Better Talk Now; had three-race winning streak snapped when fading to fourth (beaten 13 lengths to Exaggerator) in 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 in April, setting extremely fast early fractions while leading for first 6F but then paying the price and having little to give when it counted; previously had won his first three 2016 starts, each in gate-to-wire fashion, including the 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 (from Mor Spirit and Exaggerator) by 2 lengths (set legitimate fractions, then drew clear late with strong speed figure), 8.5F highly-rated allowance race in February (by nearly 6 lengths), and 7F maiden in January; pedigree suggests Derby trip should be within range though his front-running style makes his ability to stay extremely problematic; clearly a colt with some quality but his versatility will be questioned until he can win without the luxury of a pace-controlled trip; will be prepared for Kentucky Derby-G1 at San Luis Rey Downs training center in Southern California; only chance is with a loose-on-an-easy-lead trip without being respected.
16 – MAJESTO (G. Delgado) 116
Tiznow-Unacloud, by Unaccounted For
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-1:01.2b
Last start: April 2, GP, second, Florida Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (40) – 6-1-2-2 $239,500
$300,000 yearling, half-brother to 6 winners including Arkansas Derby-G1 winner Overanalyze (by Dixie Union) and Matron S.-G1 Mighty Breeze (by Meadowlake); dam unraced; earned diploma in fifth career start in 8.5F maiden at GP (by 1 length from subsequent impressive winner Dig Deep) and then improved again when an excellent runner-up (beaten 3 ¼ lengths) in 9F Florida Derby-G1 to Nyquist, rallying inside from seventh midway to loom a threat in upper stretch, proving no match late but staying on well; speed figures have risen dramatically in each of last four starts and pedigree (Tiznow) indicates further improvement with age, maturity, and distance is likely; has enough qualifying points to gain entrance to Triple Crown’s first jewel and won’t be inconvenienced by 10 furlong trip; not without a chance to at least hit the board with another forward move.
17 – SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (D. Von Hemel) 116
Mineshaft-Uchitel, by Afleet Alex
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-:59.3b
Last start: April 16, OP, second, Arkansas Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (50) 8-3-4-0 $670,032
$72,000Y, 2nd foal of unplaced half-sister to Composure (Santa Anita Oaks-G1, etc.) and Ready Set (West Virginia Derby-G3); produced typical willing late kick when a race-shape aided second (beaten 1 ¼ lengths) to fellow deep-closer Creator in 9F Arkansas Derby-G1 at Oaklawn Park in mid-April, having every chance and staying on well to the wire; previously had been victimized by a poor draw, traffic trouble and a wide trip when a non-threatening fifth (willing finish, beaten 5 lengths) to Cupid in 8.5F Rebel S.-G2 in mid-March; had made very favorable impression in 8.5F Southwest S.-G3 in 3yo debut when rallying from last of 14 to win going away (by 2 3/4 lengths from Whitmore); had raced exclusively at Remington Park as a 2yo; has developed a deep closing style that can be pace/traffic dependent; has plenty of stamina in female family and style suggests he’ll enjoy 10F and beyond; needs a strong pace and good racing luck to be at his best, possesses an extended run rather than a sharp turn of foot and isn’t without a small chance to hit the board in Kentucky Derby-G1.
18 – MY MAN SAM (C. Brown) 116
Trappe Shot-Lauren Byrd, by Arch
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-:49.3b
Last start: April 9, Kee, second, Blue Grass S.-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (40) 4-1-2-0 $251,120
Third foal, dam listed stakes-placed half-sister to Hudson Steele (Dixie S.-G2); from first crop of high-class sprinter; improving with each outing and produced career-top performance when a strong-finishing second in 9F Blue Grass S.-G1 (by 1 ¾ lengths to Brody’s Cause), breaking from far outside post and then rallying from 10th of 14 after being extremely wide into stretch; previously finished fastest but too late when runner-up in strong 8.5F allowance race over Aqueduct inner track in March (by 1 length to Matt King Coal); defeated maidens by eight widening lengths over same track and distance in January; first four dams have produced only one stakes winner but family contains strong stamina influences; deep closing style makes him pace/trip dependent but clearly is a colt on the improve; has earned enough qualifying points to guarantee a start in Kentucky Derby-G1 and won’t be without a puncher’s chance to at least finish in the frame.
19 - WHITMORE (R. Moquett) 115
Pleasantly Perfect-Melody’s Spirit, by Scat Daddy
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 5f-1:00b
Last start: April 16, OP, third, Arkansas Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points (44) 6-2-2-1 $475,000
1st foal, dam unraced, second dam maiden-claiming sprint winner; consistent gelding overcame early trouble (squeezed start, stumbled) to rally from 11th of 12 midway to finish a race-shape aided third (beaten 2 ¾ lengths) to Creator in 9F Arkansas Derby-G1 in mid-April at Oaklawn Park, looming a threat wide into lane but losing his punch late; somewhat similar performance in previous outing when second to Cupid (beaten 1 ¼ lengths) in 14-runner 8.5F Rebel S.-G2 in mid-March, rallying from ninth to loom strong threat a furlong out but unable to get by pace-setting winner; had finished second (beaten 2 ¾ lengths) to Suddenbreakingnews in 8.5F Southwest S.-G3 the previous month (rallied from 11th to hit front mid-stretch but proved no match for deep-closing winner); prefers to be held up early and produce one-run but appears highly questionable at a classic trip, currently a non-stakes winner but is capable of landing a good prize in due time; chance to develop into a highly-effective late-running sprinter/one-turn miler if eventually given the chance.
20 – FELLOWSHIP (M. Casse) 115
Awesome of Course-Go Girlfriend Go, by Demidoff
Latest workout: April 29, CD, 4f-:47b
Last start: April 2, GP, third, Florida Derby-G1
Ky. Derby qualifying points: (32) 11-2-3-3 $563,340
4th foal, half-brother to La-bred SW Johnny Handsome, dam minor stakes-placed winner, plenty of stamina in female family though first three generations contain no other stakes winners, sire has had moderate regional success in Florida; seasoned colt with durability, has made an excellent living finishing in the frame in big races, most recently rallying from last of 10 to be a non-threatening third (beaten 4 ¼ lengths to Nyquist) in 9F Florida Derby-G1, previously had finished a willing third though no real threat (beaten 6 ¼ lengths) behind Mohaymen in 8.5F Fountain of Youth S.-G2 at GP in late February; best previous effort came when winning restricted 8.5F Florida Stallion In Reality S. at GP in October (by 4 ½ lengths after rallying from 14th); clearly most effective as a deep closer; chance to win a decent purse if realistically spotted in lesser added money events for 3-year-olds but has more than paid his way while earning secondary awards against the best in the division; scheduled to make next start in Kentucky Derby-G1 for new trainer Mark Casse (previously conditioned by Stanley Gold).
ALSO ELIGIBLE: UNCLE LINO (G. Sherlock); AMERICAN FREEDOM (B. Baffert); TOM’S READY (D. Stewart); SHAGAF (C. Brown); COLLECTED (B. Baffert); ADVENTIST (L. Gyarmati); TROJAN NATION (P. Gallagher); CHERRY WINE (D. Romans);FOREVAMO (A. Stall, Jr.); OSCAR NOMINATED (M. Maker).