(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:

  1. No
  2. Maybe
  3. Yes

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?
AE List
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
Others
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