|Rank||Horse||Trainer||Rider||Last Race||Next Race||Comment|
|1||Roadster||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith||1st in G1 SA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Looked Like “The Man” in SA Derby|
|2||Game Winner||Bob Baffert||Joel Rosario||2nd in G1 SA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Did Rosario Move Too Early in SA Derby?|
|3||Improbable||Bob Baffert||Jose Ortiz||2nd in G2 Rebel Stakes 1||G1 Arkansas Derby on 4/13/19||Could Give Team Baffert a Power Trio|
|4||Tacitus||Bill Mott||Jose Ortiz||1st in Wood Memorial||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Made Winning Move Over “Game” Tax/Getting Better|
|5||Omaha Beach||Richard Mandella||Mike Smith||1st in G2 Rebel Stakes – 1A||G1 Arkansas Derby on 4/13/19||Another Speedster That Will Need to Stretch Out|
|6||Tax||Danny Gargan||Junior Alvarado||2nd in G2 Wood Memorial||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Former Claimer Keeps Hanging Around|
|7||Haikal||Kiaran McLaughlin||Rajiv Maragh||3rd in G2 Wood Memorial||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Still Think The Speed May Set It Up For Him in Derby|
|8||War of Will||Mark Casse||Tyler Gaffalione||9th in G2 LA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Training at Keeneland / Can He Recover In Time?|
|9||Bourbon War||Mark Hennig||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||4th in Florida Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||If He Has the Points to Get In, Watch Out / Best to Come|
|10||Code of Honor||Shug McGaughey||John Velazquez||3rd in Florida Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Better-Than-Looked in Florida Derby Against Bias|
|11||Galilean||Jerry Hollendorfer||Flavien Pratt||3rd in G2 Rebel Stakes – 1||G1 Arkansas Derby on 4/13/19||Cal-bred Will Need To Take Another Step Forward|
|12||Long Range Toddy||Steve Asmussen||Jon Court||1st in G2 Rebel Stakes — 1||G1Arkansas Derby on 4/13/19||Arkansas Derby Will Be Acid Test|
|13||Anothertwistafate||Blaine D. Wright||Juan Hernandez||2nd in the Sunland Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Still in Arizona & Training Quietly / Noise Soon To Come|
|14||Vekoma||George Weaver||Javier Castellano||1st in G2 Blue Grass Stakes||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Looks the Part, but Stretch Run Was Staggering, Wobbly|
|15||Win Win Win||Michael Trombetta||Irad Ortiz, Jr||2nd in G2 Blue Grass Stakes||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Arguably, the Most Impressive in BG / Can He Break Better?|
|16||Signalman||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez||3rd in G2 Blue Grass Stakes||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Ran Better in 2nd Start Off Layoff / Can He Move Forward?|
|17||By My Standards||W. Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez||1st in G2 LA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Is He As Good As He Looked in LA Derby?|
|18||Cutting Humor||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||1st in the Sunland Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Will Need to Improve Off The Last Win|
|19||Sueno||J. Keith Desormeaux||Corey Lanerie||3rd in the LA Derby||Undecided||Beginning to Like This One More & More|
|20||Instagrand||Jerry Hollendorfer||Flavien Pratt||3rd in G1 SA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Distance Now Becomes A Concern / 3rd of a Layoff?|
|1||Spinoff||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||2nd in LA Derby||G1 KY Derby on 5/4/19||Can He Add Distance to His Game?|
|2||Mucho Gusto||Bob Baffert||Joe Talamo||3rd in Sunland Derby||G3 Lexington Stakes on 4/13/19||Terrible Ride in Sunland Derby / Change of Jockeys?|
We should have known all along.
After all, Bob Baffert gave us every clue in the world a year ago when Roadster was just a young, spry 2-year-old with a dazzle in his legs and a sparkle in his eye. After all, Roadster was the one that the world’s great trainer of Kentucky Derby winners in modern day history hand-selected for the masterful Mike Smith to ride. And, after all, when Roadster came back this year, after having a bit of throat surgery to alleviate a breathing issue and a long layoff, it was Smith who declared that his steed was back and ready to contest the grueling road to the Kentucky Derby.
We should have known all along.
Now, after watching Roadster run down and roll past his steady stablemate, and last year’s 2YO Champ Game Winner to capture the Santa Anita Derby over a stellar field of 3-year olds, we all know for sure what we should have known from the beginning.
Roadster is really good — just like Baffert and Smith said.
Roadster is back — just like Baffert and Smith said.
And, Roadster is rolling to the 145th Kentucky Derby as a major contender and a huge threat — just like most of us say now.
With just four weeks to go before the Kentucky Derby and with only a couple of major preps left for this year’s edition of the “Run for the Roses,” the fans are starting to validate and recognize. In numbers. In the final “Kentucky Derby Future Wager” that Churchill Downs conducted this past weekend, it was Roadster that the fans bet down to 6-1 odds and made the favorite. In most people’s eyes and handicapping schemes, it is Roadster that has emerged from the fray of this wild Winter & Spring, when the unexpected became the expected in Derby prep after Derby prep. And, in “The Pressbox’s KY Derby Rankings,” too, Roadster has inched his way past Game Winner — just as he did in the Santa Anita Derby — to take over the top spot.
Soon after dismounting from Roadster following the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, and making his way to the glorious winner’s circle celebration, Smith was jubilant as he should be. But there was a bounce to his words that matched his stride. There was conviction in his tone that equalled his praise. There was something special in his horse, and something special in Smith’s tone.
“We knew before he and Game Winner started running that they both had ability,” Smith told the Santa Anita media team following the race. “They were breezing by the competition like this and putting them away. We were’t sure which one was better. The first time he ran for me he showed he had all the gears. The second time he had the problem with his wind. We fixed that, and he’s dong all the right things. We got a good break and then we dropped back. He took a breather, while the others were going out there quick. When I asked him again, he was gone.”
Now, he is going. To Louisville. To the Kentucky Derby. To the big time.
Baffert, the Hall of Fame trainer, echoed the Hall of Fame rider.
“They’re two good horses (Game Winner and Roadster),” Baffert said after the race. “Game Winner was out there by himself and when he gets by himself…he needs company. It was a good, hard race for both of them, and coming in, that’s what you want to see.
“It was a great finish. They were both finishing well, they were fighting. Game Winner is a fighter. It was a great stretch run…at the eighth pole, I knew I was going to win, I just didn’t know which one, but it was exciting. They’ll both like a 11/4 mile. I think Game Winner’s next race will be better. I’ve been brining him along really easy.
“Roadster is a light horse, but always shown brilliance from day one,” Baffert continued. “We’re just lucky we were able to bring him back, because after Del Mar I was worried hat may the (throat) surgery didn’t go well, because it could’ve gone worse. But I couldn’t thank the surgeon that did it enough. He’s one of the best in the business…Today he passed the test to know he’s good enough to go to the Big Show.”
And, he’s coming in style. As the hot horse. As the top horse.