(Could the next “him” to emerge as a main Kentucky Derby contender be a “her?” Taraz was impressive in winning the 2020 debut in the Martha Washington Stakes this Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Next stop? May be a run against the “boys.” / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
It is still very early in 2020. Just passed Super Bowl Sunday. Just getting over the hangover of that delirious “Halftime Show.” My Gosh. Can’t you imagine that at Keeneland for this year’s Breeders’ Cup? That would make James E. “Ted” Bassett’s head spin a notch faster.
For that matter, the Kentucky stallion operations could consider a replay of that Halftime Video instead of using a teaser pony in the future. Right?
But the real question remains?
Have we seen the Kentucky Derby winner run in 2020 yet?
Have we seen the Top 5 contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby run in 2020 yet?
Have we seen the Top 10 contenders already galavant in 2020 yet?
My answers to the aforementioned questions are:
The real questions and question marks are soon to be addressed, though. Some of them will be answered with either an affirmation or a reaffirmation. Some will be answered with more questions than answers. Some will fade from relevance.
While Thousand Words punched his ticket to the next dance with a workmanlike win in the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes over the weekend and now has to be considered one of the top contenders based on his graduation rate, four other top contenders for this year’s “Run for the Roses” will make their 2020 debuts in the next three weeks.
The last to debut will be our top selection — Dennis’ Moment, who is not expected to see the starting gate in the afternoon until the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 29. Thank goodness we have a “leap year” in 2020, right?
More will be coming soon.
For now, Thousand Words and Independence Hall, who won the Jerome Stakes on Jan. 1, are both looking good.
For now, Tiz the Law — who zigged a lot before zagging to a win on Saturday in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park — is looking better than he did when tiring in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last Fall.
For now, Authentic — who seems to suffer from ADD, as well — is looking like a true prospect. If he can overcome the “Justify Jinx.”
But, for now, I will hold my powder dry. And, I will wait until we see the likes of Dennis’ Moment, Storm the Court, Ajaaweed, and Anneau d’Or.
For now, I am anxious to see the best this crop has to offer.
And, I just don’t think we have seen him yet.
Unless this year’s Kentucky Derby winner is a “her.”
After all, there may be a “her” to beat them all.
After all, Taraz — who swept to an overpowering win in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park this past weekend — just may be the next Regret, Genuine Risk and Winning Colors.
After all, that may be something to see.
We shall see.
Here’s a look at our latest edition of “The Pressbox’s” Kentucky Derby Rankings:
|Horse||Sire||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Dennis’ Moment||Tiznow||Dale Romans||Irad Oritz, Jr.||8th in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G2 Fountain of Youth — GP on Feb. 29||Still My Man|
|2||Independence Hall||Constitution||Michael Trombetta||Jose Ortiz||1st in Jerome Stakes||G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes — Tampa on Feb. 9||Nominated for Sam F. Davis / Launching Pad|
|3||Storm The Court||Court Vision||Peter Eurton||Flavien Prat||1st in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G2 San Vicente Stakes — SA on Feb. 9||I’m Ready to See the 2020 Version|
|4||Thousand Words||Pioneerof the Nile||Bob Baffert||Flavien Prat||1st in the G3 Robert B. Lewis||G2 San Felipe Stakes — SA on March 7||Learning Experience & Still Won the Lewis / Getting Better|
|5||Ajaaweed||Curlin||Kiaran McLaughlin||Joel Rosario||2nd in Remsen Stakes||G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes — Tampa on Feb. 9||Our “Sleeper” in This Year’s Group / Watch Out Here|
|6||Anneau d’Or||Medaglia d’Oro||Blaine Wright||Jose Hernandez||2nd in Los Alamitos Futurity||El Camino Real Derby — Feb. 15||Has Run Some Impressive 2nds / Can He Win Big Ones?|
|7||Tiz the Law||Constitution||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco||1st in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes||G2 Louisiana Derby — March 21||Green Gord Run in Holy Bull, Yet Impressive Talent Is There|
|8||Authentic||Into Mischief||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in G3 Sham Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes at SA on March 7||Has Some Attention Deficit Issues / Can Blinkers Cure?|
|9||Maxfield||Street Sense||Brendan Walsh||Jose Oritz||1st in Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity||TBD||What’s the Schedule Look Like?|
|10||Enforceable||Tapit||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||1st in the G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Impressive in Winning Lecomte From Far Outside|
|11||American Theorem||American Pharoah||G. Papaprodromou||Tiago Pereira||2nd in American Pharoah Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes at SA on March 7||Love to See This One in KY Derby|
|12||Gouverneur Morris||Constitution||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||2nd in Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity||G3 Southwest Stakes — OP on Feb. 17||Will Have Hoofs Full in 2020 Debut / Interesting Return|
|13||Basin||Liam’s Map||Steve Asmussen||Jose Ortiz||1st in Hopeful Stakes||G2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14||Rebel Is Very Important|
|14||Silver State||Hard Spun||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||2nd in G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Impressive in G3 Lecomte / Just Scratching the Surface?|
|15||High Velocity||Quality Road||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||3rd in Los Alamitos Futurity||G2 San Vicente Stakes at SA on Feb. 9||Like the Work From the Gate on Jan. 26|
|16||Blackberry Wine||Oxbow||Joe Sharp||Adam Beschizza||1st in FG Allowance||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Won 2 of Last 3 / Next Step — Big Boys|
|17||Scabbard||More Than Ready||Eddie Kenneally||Corey Lanerie||5th in G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Slow Work on Feb. 1 at the FG / Like To See This 1 Rebound|
|18||Silver Prospector||Declaration of War||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||4th in the Smarty Jones Stakes||G3 Southwest Stakes — OP on Feb. 17||Must Improve Next Time Out / Show Us Something?|
|19||Nadal||Blame||Bob Baffert||J. Diaz||1st in SA MSW||G3 Southwest Stakes — OP on Feb. 17||The “Racing World” Loves Him / We Shall See|
|20||Shoplifted||Into Mischief||Steve Asmussen||Tyler Gaffalione||3rd in the Smarty Jones||G3 Southwest Stakes — OP on Feb. 17||OK Performance in Smarty Jones / Next?|
|1||Structor||Palace Malice||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||1st in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf||TBD||Growing Concerns Over 2020 Debut Date|
|2||Shotski||Blame||Jeremiah O’Dwyer||Luis Saez||2nd in Withers Stakes||G2 Fountain of Youth — GP on Feb. 29||Well Beaten in Withers Stakes / Can He Improve Enough?|
|3||High Velocity||Quality Road||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||3rd in the Robert B Lewis Stakes||TBD||Has Velocity / Can He Carry It Farther? Legit Questionmark|
|1||Eight Rings||Empire Maker||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez||6th in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14||Can Be Baffert’s Best / Again|
|2||Green Light Go||Hard Spun||Jimmy Jerkens||Junior Alvarado||3rd in the G3 Swale Stakes||TBD||Didn’t Get Much Attention / But Next?|
|3||Chance It||Currency Swap||Saffie Joseph, Jr.||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in Mucho Macho Man Stakes||G2 Fountain of Youth — GP on Feb. 29||All Out to Win the Mucho Macho Man / All Out|
|4||Mr. Monomoy||Palace Malice||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||3rd in the G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Lynn’s Map Did Not Help This One’s Cause|
|5||Toledo||Into Mischief||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||3rd in the G3 Holy Bull||TBD||Not Nearly Impressive Enough / Disappointing|
|6||Chestertown||Tapit||Steve Asmussen||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||3rd in ALW at FG||TBD||An Absolute Beautiful Horse / Raw, But Talented|
|7||Tizamagician||Tiznow||Richard Mandella||Victor Espinoza||4th in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes||TBD||Expected More in Lewis|