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Feb 26, 2004

ATC Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            With only two months left until the Kentucky Derby on May 1st we will list our top ten horses on the

road to the roses.

1.      BIRDSTONE- Hails from the Nick Zito barn so he definitely has the connections to get the

job done. But from a talent standpoint the talent runs high. With three wins out of four lifetime

starts he has shown he knows how to get to the winners circle. He stretched out to two turns

nicely in an allowance race at Gulfstream in the middle of February and his sire, GRINDSTONE

won the Kentucky Derby so he should have no problem getting the distance. His next start is

expected to come at Turfway Park in the Lane’s End on March 20th.

2.      EUROSILVER- Another Nick Zito trainee and yet another who has won three times from four

tries. This son of UNBRIDLED’S SONG returned in fine fashion scoring over allowance foes at

seven furlongs. He attempted and won at two turns last year in the Lane’s End Futurity at Keeneland.

His breeding suggests that he will also have no problem with the Derby distance and his next start

should come in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream on March 13th. The Swale is only seven furlongs but

this horse has already proved his worth around two turns so another seven furlong event should do

just fine.

3.      LION HEART- This three year old colt is undefeated in three starts and has already proven

himself around two turns. He has a ton of speed but looks like he can rate if he needs to. The talent

is there and he will be tested for class in the San Rafael, a Grade II event at Santa Anita on March 6th.

It will be interesting to see how far he can carry his speed when faced off against better competition

but right now he is still one to down.

4.      VALUE PLUS- Todd Pletcher trainee with a ton of talent and a ton of speed returned nicely on

February 14th at Gulfstream, scoring by more than five lengths in an exceptional time of 1:21:2 for

seven furlongs. His next start is scheduled for the Florida Derby and will let his connections know

where they stand. This colt by UNBRIDLED’S SONG is a tall lean colt and it will be interesting to

see how he handles the stretch in distance.

5.      READ THE FOOTNOTES- Another New York bred on the Derby trail. Well this colt by

SMOKE GLACKEN is a New York bred but has only run against state breds once. His most recent

win in the Fountain of Youth on February 14th was a very game win over a tough customer in

SECOND OF JUNE, but the time of the race was 1/5 of second slower than BIRDSTONE’S allowance

race on the same afternoon. The breeding is a little questionable also being out of sprinter

SMOKE GLACKEN but he has handled two turns so far, we will have to see how far he can go.

6.      ACTION THIS DAY- The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner returned to action with an even fourth in

the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita while clearly in need of the race. His next start will be in the San Felipe

at Santa Anita on March 14th. The breeding is there to get the Derby distance being by KRIS S. out

of a TREMPOLINO mare so if he can continue to improve he will be one to watch come May 1st.

7.      TAPIT- This colt by PULPIT is undefeated and hails from the Michael Dickinson barn so the

connections are there. The horse has not started this year because of problems with his shins and a

decision on his next race has not been made. If he does make it to the gate at Churchill Downs it is

because the trainer thinks that he has a good chance to win, he doesn’t run them where they don’t fit.

8.      THE CLIFF’S EDGE- Another Zito trainee comes off a second place finish at Tampa Bay while

racing wide. Needs to improve off that effort to be considered as a top contender.

9.      GRADEPOINT- Has now run his record to a solid three for four with a win in the Risen Star

Stakes at Fair Grounds. This colt is well bred by A. P. INDY out of a KRIS S. mare and should have

no problem with the distance. His next scheduled start is on March 7th at the Fair Grounds in the

Louisiana Derby.

10.  MASTER DAVID- Ran on well to the wire to score over a decent field in the Sham Stakes

(defeating ACTION THIS DAY), this Bobby Frankel trainee will make his next start in the Florida

Derby and should be tested for class.

As more prep races are run and the Derby approaches look for our top five list in upcoming weeks.

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