2014 Derby Dozen 2

Once again, it’s time for another round of Derby Dozen.  With ten weeks to the event, and a number of February preps in the books, it’s time for a new list.  Emphasis this time on “new” as a half-dozen of them drop off and another half-dozen newcomers are on this list.

The Author is pleased for the third straight year to be a member of the “Derby Dozen” panel for WirePlayers.  Each member of the panel chooses and then ranks twelve of the best Kentucky Derby Contenders.  In addition, there are comments from members of the panel.  The list is taken fairly seriously; the comments however are more snarky than serious.   This year, in addition, horses 1-10 will represent my  ballot in the NTRA Media poll, when said poll commences.   NTRA poll results will be available from that site and tweeted on Mondays/Tuesdays, two days after the list below, if possible.  As this list is published before the final list is published including all the panelists, a link to the final ballot will be provided once it is available, usually the Wednesday or Thursday after this poll is submitted, four or five days after.)

Update, February 26: Full ballot is here.

Okay, enough disclaimers and jibber jabber.   Without further ado, here’s the Derby Dozen. (Week ending Feb. 23)

  1. TOP BILLING   Didn’t have the right tokens for the Gulfstream merry-go-round.
  2. HONOR CODE   Remember kids, Street Sense won the Derby in 2007 by being in mothballs until mid March.
  3. SHARED BELIEF   Remember kids, Hollendorfer can ship and win outside of Southern California.
  4. STRONG MANDATE   Moves way up off a troubled second in Arkansas.
  5. CAIRO PRINCE   Taking the It’smyluckyday route of skipping the Fountain of Youth will not lead to this one getting crowned in Louisville.
  6. INTENSE HOLIDAY   So a horse bred to go nine panels beats milers, and once again the Risen Star goes to the trash can.
  7. CANDY’S BOY   So a horse bred to go nine panels beats milers, and once again the West Coast horses (minus Shared Belief) go to the crash can.
  8. TAMARANDO   This spot goes to my yearly inclusion of the El Camino Real Derby winner that will fall off the charts in about two weeks.
  9. A STEP AHEAD   Needs longer races than a mile because he plods like his money-sucking brother, but one to watch for the Arkansas Derby or (more likely) Illinois Derby.
  10. CONQUEST TITAN   Has the breeding and a win over Churchill dirt last fall. Shame on me for excluding him on the last dozen.
  11. GENERAL A ROD   Game runner-up in the Fountain of Youth gets higher nod because his trainer won with a Tapit going ten panels. (Which almost never happens.)
  12. WILDCAT RED   Game winner of the Fountain of Youth had all the right tokens for the the Gulfstream merry-go-round.

Don’t see your favorite?  State your case, drop a comment, and let me know.


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  • hey, at least you included Conquest Titan this time around. :) i like him a lot, and think that the longer races leading up to the Derby are only going to help him.

    interesting to see A Step Ahead still on there. i'm really hoping you're right, though...it would be nice to see a local horse rate in at least one of the Derby preps.

  • In reply to rogueclown:


    It would be nice to see A STEP AHEAD do something beyond the local and state bred races, but I have the feeling trainer C. Block brings him back for the April 19 G3 Illinois Derby. Since he's down at Oaklawn, we'll have to keep an eye on him in the G2 Rebel or (if he that's good), the G1 Arkansas Derby. The reason I rank him is that he's got one speed and that will help him if the pace gets too quick in the races at nine furlongs or further.

    CONQUEST TITAN was excluded as he's been the "in the weeds" type so far, but as long as these three-year-olds continue to not wow me (see also: why I have SHARED BELIEF at #3 and its tete-a-tete), I'll keep digging in the weeds.

    Thanks for reading. =)

  • In reply to Paul Mazur:

    ohhhh, i know all about digging in the weeds, thanks to this triple crown fantasy league i'm in...insane amounts of research and data are about the only ways i stand a chance against people who have been following the sport obsessively for longer than i have. can't say i've found any diamonds-in-the-rough that no one else has, but at least i can follow the conversation! :D

    i haven't heard any scuttlebutt about A Step Ahead in the Rebel, though that would be really fun to see him there, and make sense since he's working out there.

    i'm still holding out a glowing ember of hope for Shared Belief...i want to see him race again so badly, since his two-year-old season was dynamite. i won't say he's quite dead yet, but if he doesn't return to the work tab in early march, i'd say it's curtains on his Derby hopes. not that curtains on his Derby hopes would be the biggest deal ever, since he's a gelding (and therefore has plenty of time to heal up and run without being given a one-way ticket to the stud farm...), but i was really hoping to see him in the Classics.

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