This is my latest in a series of blogs devoted to 2012 Kentucky Derby hopefuls. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is in the books and Hansen stole the candy. The undefeated colt has yet to be tested and we will see how good he is when he faces serious pace pressure next year.
Union Rags should have won the BC Juvenile but he was weaving under the Twin Spires and fell a head short. The talented juvenile needs to mature mentally.
Speaking of immaturity, Alpha had a mental breakdown in the starting gate and was done before he started in the BC Juvenile. He has some growing up to do.
Drill failed to pick up his feet at Churchill and is back quickly as the morning line favorite in the Delta Jackpot on Nov 19. He needs a big effort at Delta Downs to remain on my radar screen.
Secret Circle attended wicked splits in the BC Juvenile Sprint and had just enough left to hold off overseas filly Shumoos. Bob Baffert’s undefeated colt is obviously fast and might get his first stamina test in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December.
Optimizer failed to get involved in the BC Juvenile and appears much better on synthetic and/or turf at this stage. Wayne Lukas is his trainer so he figures to try dirt again but he drops off my list for now.
Seeker also drops out of the top ten. He followed up a show finish in the Nashua with an even 4th in the BC Juvenile Sprint. The Asmussen trainee could go better with added ground next year.
Take Charge Indy, 4th in the Breeders’ Futurity and 5th in the BC Juvenile, cost me the superfecta when he failed to secure fourth place in the latter. He owns a late blooming pedigree and could improve in 2012. He remains in the bottom portion of my list for the time being.
Steve Asmussen is excited about his recent grad Hierro. He finished 5th behind Alpha in his Saratoga bow and landed the place at Big Sandy second time out. Cap and gown time arrived under the Twin Spires on Nov 9 and he looked good in that extended sprint romp. He earned an 85 BSF for his maiden win and the sky is the limit.
Finally, Consortium heads the new exciting prospects section after a sharp debut tally at Aqueduct on 11-12. The Darley colt, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, is bred to route and could be any kind.
Click on the names of each horse below to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.
Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten 2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders
1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He will winter in Florida.
2. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt remained undefeated in game BC Juvenile Sprint (95 BSF) tally. He might stretch out in G1 CashCall Futurity.
3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He is done racing this year and is expected to prepare for the Derby at Santa Anita.
4. Hansen (Tapit) – New top ten member stole the BC Juvenile (94 BSF). Undefeated colt has never been headed and his true talents are still unknown. He will spend the winter in Florida.
5. Drill (Lawyer Ron) – Never lifted a hoof in BC Juvenile. G1 Del Mar Futurity hero returns quickly as the likely Delta Jackpot favorite on Nov 19. Fired a 3f bullet in :35.40 at Santa Anita on 11-14.
6. Alpha (Bernardini) – Champagne runner-up was fractious at gate in BC Juvenile flop. He has raw talent but needs to sharpen his mental skills next year.
7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner blew the break in BC Juvenile but still managed to finish a respectable 4th.
8. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase romped in the Belmont slop second time out on 10-29. His most recent work was a 5f breeze in 1:01.30 at Big Sandy on Nov 13.
9. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – 5th place BC Juvenile finisher owns a strong route pedigree and should be much improved in 2012.
10. Hierro (Hard Spun) – Cruised in 3rd lifetime start at Churchill on Nov 9. Promising Asmussen trainee could winter in Southern California.
Consortium (Bernardini) – Landed on the NY Watch list following facile debut at Big A. The Kiaran McLaughlin runner is a son of hot young sire Bernardini just like his stablemate Alpha.
Empire Way (Empire Maker) – Deceptively easy debut tally at Hollywood despite not being fully cranked. Royal Delta’s baby bro should continue to progress.
Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill bow. Sheppard has a runner on his hands.
B Shanny (Street Cry) – Bone chip has sidelined him for the year.
Currency Swap (High Cotton) – Left front ankle injury (P-1 flake) will require surgery and two months of farm rest. He is expected to point to the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby if all goes well.
Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return sometime next year.