(Catholic Boy moves up to our No. 1 position on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” rankings)

As first reported by “The Daily Racing Form,” Copper Bullet — one of the most talented 2YO colts in the country a year ago and one of the most talked-about youngsters for this year’s hunt for the Kentucky Derby — has been pulled from consideration of the Triple Crown trail.

Trainer Steve Asmussen and Assistant Scott Blasi have been working hard to get Copper Bullet, a son of More Than Ready, back to the level that he showed a year ago in winning the Saratoga Special last August.

In fact, they had put the colt through a series of six published works since Jan. 5. The latest morning try came on Feb. 12, when he breezed an impressive 5-furlongs in 1:00.60 — which was the bullet out of 18 to go that day over the dirt track at the Fair Grounds.

Everything looked to be cooking up just right for a return to the races. But the colt missed his regular work on Feb. 19 and has trained seriously since. According to the “DRF report,” Asmussen said: “…too much, too soon.”

The colt was super impressive last year, winning the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in a commanding performance. However, he was sidelined shortly after that race with “shin issues.”

With our No. 1 horse’s defection from the Derby Trail, we are now left searching and editing. For this week, we will simply bump up all our selections one slot. That makes Catholic Boy — who ran second to Flameaway in his 2018 debut in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay — our top selection.

Catholic Boy, like Copper Bullet, is a son of More Than Ready. And, despite the runner-up position, we still think he ran a huge race off the long layoff and on a speed-favoring track that day.

Catholic Boy entered that contest off just two published works over a racetrack facility. And, it appeared that he may have been a tad short for the race.

Here is a closer look at our top picks, to date:

1 Catholic Boy More Than Ready Justin Thomas Manny Franco 1st Remsen Stakes / AQU March 10 — Tampa Bay Derby Ran Game Second in the Sam F. Davis Off Just 4 Works / Good Race Over Speed Track
2 Free Drop Billy Union Rags Dale Romans Robby Albarado 2nd in Holy Bull /GP March 3 — FOY — GP With Defection of Dak Attack & Hollywood Star’s Poor Run on Sat, He May Be “IT”
3 Bolt d’Oro Medaglia d’Oro Mick Ruis Javier Castellano 3rd BC Juvenile / Del Mar March 10 — San Felipe — SA Tuning Up at Santa Anita / Manchild or Injury Prone?
4 McKenzie Street Sense Bob Baffert Mike Smith 1st Sham Stakes / SA March 10 — San Felipe — SA Baffert Taking His Time With This One / Why?/Not His Style
5 Good Magic Curlin Chad Brown Junior Ortiz 1st BC Juvenile / Del Mar March 3 — FOY — GP Connections Say He Is Ready for Fountain of Youth
6 Solomini Curlin Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 3rd Los Alamitos Futurity / LA March 10 — San Felipe — SA Ready for a Return?
7 Avery Island Street Sense Kiaran McLaughlin Joe Bravo 1st in Withers Stakes / AQU March 24 — Louisiana Derby Impressive in Withers/Speedster Showed Signs He Could Rate/Next Important
8 Audible Into Mischief Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 1st in the Holy Bull Stakes/GP March 31 — Florida Derby Impressive In Holy Bull/Put Away All/Will He Extend Out If Pressed
9 Gotta Go Shanghai Bobby Ian Wilkes Chris Landeros 2nd in Swale Stakes Undecided Training Well According to Ian, who is always coy when it comes to plans
10 Bravazo Awesome Again D. Wayne Lukas Miguel Mena 1st in G2 Risen Star / FG March 24 — Louisiana Derby Gutty performance in Risen Star / Can He Go the Distance?/
11 Justify Scat Daddy Bob Baffert Drayden Van Dyke 1st in MSW / SA Undecided Caught racing’s attention with 91/2-length MSW win on 2/18/ Can He Repeat?
12 Instilled Regard Arch Jerry Hollendorfer Javier Castellano 1st LeComte Stakes / FG Feb. 17 — Risen Star — FG 4th in the G2 Risen Star, Yet Dull Throughout/ Throw Out Race?/ More like “Throw in Towel”
12A Sporting Chance Tiznow D. Wayne Lukas Luis Saez 3rd Southwest Stakes / OP April 14 — Arkansas Derby Most Impressive Runner in Southwest / Coming Off 51/2-Month Layoff/Very Nice
AE Enticed Medaglia d’Oro Kiaran McLaughlin Junior Alvarado 4th in Holy Bull March 3 — Fountaiin of Youth May Have Needed One Off Layoff/Never Made a Serious Move
AE Kanthaka Jimmy Creed Jerry Hollendorfer Flavien Prat 1st in San Vincente Stakes / SA March 10 — San Felipe — SA Roared Through Stretch to Win San Vincente Impressively/Can Close, but How Far?
AE Flameaway Scat Daddy Mark Casse Jose Lezcano 1st in Sam F. Davis Stakes March 10 — Tampa Bay Derby Wired Field Over Speed-Favoring Track/Gutty/Versatile/Speedy/Can He Last?
AE Strike Power Speightstown Mark Hennig Luis Saez 1st in Swale Stakes /GP Undecided Super Impressive in Easy Win/Can He Stretch Out?/Time Will Tell
AE Restoring Hope Giant’s Causeway Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 1st in MSW Event / SA Undecided Impressive in MSW Win/Won by nearly 4 Lengths/Baffert says “ready”
AE Once On Whiskey Bodemeister Bob Baffert Drayden Van Dyke 2nd in MSW Event / SA Undecided Late-Closer Impressed With Move in MSW on Feb 3/Enough Time?
AE Snapper Sinclair City Zip Steve Asmussen Adam Beschizza 2nd in G2 Risen Star / FG March 24 — Louisiana Derby Nearly Won at Long Odds in 2nd Try on Dirt/Getting Better Quickly
AE My Boy Jack Creative Cause J. Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux 1st in G3 Southwest Stakes / OP April 14 — Arkansas Derby Skimmed the Rail to Win Southwest Stakes/Turf Horse on Dirt?