(Catholic Boy winning the Remsen Stakes / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)

Despite the fact that he has only raced once this year, and despite the fact that he ran second in that race to a relative unknown (at the time) in the fight to stay on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” we are holding firm:

Catholic Boy is still our man.

The 3YO son of More Than Ready, who stamped himself a legit contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby with his run-away and impressive win in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct last Fall, started the 2018 campaign with a hard-fought second to Flameaway in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay.

He only had four published works for that event, two of which were at the Bridlewood Farm Training Center near Ocala, where trainer Jonathan Thomas keeps his homeless in the winter months.

Still, he ran well, although he never did pass the front-running Flameaway on the speed-favoriting track that day.

Since then, Catholic Boy has been back at Bridlewood and training aggressively for the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. He will need to step it up when he faces his toughest field yet in what would appear to be his final prep for the Run for the Roses. He will need to run well, too, to collect the necessary points to make the body of the 20-horse field.

So, in short, the Florida Derby on March 31 is sure to be a major event.

But this week will be an important week, too. On Saturday, the Fair Grounds will be hosting the Louisiana Derby. In the field are Risen Star winner Bravazo, Risen Star runner-up Snapper Sinclair, and My Boy Jack — who won the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park earlier this year in his conversion from the grass to the dirt.

An interesting entry in the Louisiana Derby is Hyndford, who ran second to Magnum Moon — the impressive winner of the Rebel Stakes last week — in his last start in an allowance race at Tampa Bay on Feb. 15.

Here is a closer look at our Top 12 prospects for this year’s Kentucky Derby:

Rank Horse Sire Trainer Jockey Last Start Next Start Comment
1 Catholic Boy More Than Ready Jonathan Thomas Manny Franco 2nd in Sam F. Davis / TAM March 31 — Florida Derby / GP Looks to be working well up to the Florida Derby / Needs To Step Up
2 Bolt d’Oro Medaglia d’Oro Mick Ruis Javier Castellano 1st by DQ San Felipe / SA April 7 — Santa Anita Derby / SA Took His “A” Game from Practice to Playing / Can He Step Forward in SA Derby?
3 McKenzie Street Sense Bob Baffert Mike Smith DQ’d in San Felipe / SA April 7 — Santa Anita Derby / SA Won the San Felipe Fair & Square; Man to Man/Stewards Took That Away, but He Improved
4 Magnum Moon Malibu Moon Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 1st in G2 Rebel Stakes / OP April 14 — Arkansas Derby / OP Impressive Winner of the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park/Next Step is Ark Derby/”Apollo?”
4 Good Magic Curlin Chad Brown Junior Ortiz 3rd in Fountain of Youth / GP March 31 — Florida Derby / GP Wasn’t Keyed All The Way Up for FOY/Time to Crank the Engine for FLA Derby
5 Solomini Curlin Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 2nd in G2 Rebel Stakes / OP Undecided Game 2nd in Rebel, While Stuck on the Rail/Tough Trip/Should Benefit From 2018 Debut
6 Justify Scat Daddy Bob Baffert Drayden Van Dyke 1st in ALW / SA April 14 — Arkansas Derby / OP Overwhelming Winner in Allowance at SA on Sunday / The “Hot Horse”/”Apollo?”
7 Enticed Medaglia d’Oro Kiaran McLaughlin Junior Alvarado 1st in Gotham Stakes / AQU April 7 — Wood Memorial / AQU Impressive Rally to Win Gotham/Shut Down Before the Wire/
8 Flameaway Scat Daddy Mark Casse Jose Lezcano 2nd in Tampa Bay Derby April 7 — Blue Grass Stakes / KEE Didn’t Have “The Trip” in Tampa Bay Derby/But Gutty to Run Stalking-Closing Second to Speed
9 Audible Into Mischief Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 1st in the Holy Bull Stakes/GP March 31 — Florida Derby / GP Impressive In Holy Bull/Put Away All/Will He Extend Out If Pressed
10 Free Drop Billy Union Rags Dale Romans Robby Albarado 3rd in the Gotham Stakes / AQU April 7 — Blue Grass Stakes / KEE Gotham Stakes Run was “Ho Hum”/Starting to Worry If He Can Duplicate Breeders’ Futurity
11 Bravazo Awesome Again D. Wayne Lukas Miguel Mena 1st in G2 Risen Star / FG March 24 — Louisiana Derby / FG Gutty performance in Risen Star / Can He Go the Distance?/
12 Snapper Sinclair City Zip Steve Asmussen Adam Beschizza 2nd in G2 Risen Star / FG March 24 — Louisiana Derby / FG Nearly Won at Long Odds in 2nd Try on Dirt/Getting Better Quickly
AE Reride Candy Ride Steve Asmussen Ricardo Santana 1st in the Mine That Bird / SUN March 31 — Dubai Derby / UAE Headed to Dubai / Can He Make Both Trips? / “Under the Radar” Type Has 4 Wins in 5 Starts
AE My Boy Jack Creative Cause J. Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux 1st in G3 Southwest Stakes / OP March 24 — Louisiana Derby / FG Word Has It That He Will Now Try LA DERBY Next/Will Have to Improve to Contend
AE Promises Fulfilled Shackleford Dale Romans Irad Ortiz, Jr 1st in Fountain of Youth March 31 — Florida Derby / GP Wire to Wire Winner of FOY/Speed Bias Had to Help, Right?/We Will See When Tested
AE Quip Distorted Humor Rodolphe Brisset Florent Geroux 1st in Tampa Bay Derby April 7 — Blue Grass Stakes / KEE Impressive Winner of Tampa Bay Derby/3 Wins in 4 Career Starts/Credentials
AE Instilled Regard Arch Jerry Hollendorfer Javier Castellano 1st LeComte Stakes / FG March 24 — Louisiana Derby / FG 4th in the G2 Risen Star, Yet Dull Throughout/ Throw Out Race?/ More like “Throw in Towel”
AE Strike Power Speightstown Mark Hennig Luis Saez 1st in Swale Stakes /GP March 31 — Florida Derby / GP Gutty Performance in FOY/Never Getting to Winner, But 1st Time Stretching Out/Next?
AE Restoring Hope Giant’s Causeway Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 1st in MSW Event / SA March 25 — Sunland Derby / SUN Has Had 4 Published Works Since MSW Win on 2/2; Last 1 on 3/4 going 6F in 1:11.60/Race?
AE Once On Whiskey Bodemeister Bob Baffert Drayden Van Dyke 2nd in MSW Event / SA Undecided 4 Published Works Since Race on 2/3; Bullet 1/2-mile on Saturday in :48 flat/Race?