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Feb 15, 2013

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               With a brief break in the Kentucky Prep schedule we will take this week to write who we think our top three year olds are as we lead up to the first Saturday in May.

1.      VERRAZANO- Hugely talented three year old colt by More Than Ready out of a Giant’s Causeway mare is two for two in his career with two dominating wins at distances of 6 ½ furlongs and a mile by a combined 24 lengths. His most recent effort going a mile he took over the lead through solid fractions past the half and came home to score by a bit more than 16 lengths in a solid time of 1:34:4. Obviously there is still a lot to prove but this Todd Pletcher trainee looks like the sky is the limit. If he can stretchout to two turns effectively he will be a handful to deal with.

2.      FLASHBACK- Like Verrazano this is another three year old that is undefeated in two career starts. A Bob Baffert trainee scored in both of his races and both in imprssive fashion. His debut win came over the cushion track at Hollywood Park scoring by more than three lengths. In his second start, over the Santa Anita track in the Grade II R B Lewis, he went to the lead, set a moderate pace and drew away to score by more than six lengths. Going forward he can only get better and has the look of a horse that will go further.

3.      VIOLENCE- Another talented three year old from the Todd Pletcher barn and this one is three for three. He has won over three different tracks and at distances from seven furlongs to 1 and 1/16th miles. His most recent win in the Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park back in mid-December has him on the top of many Kentucky Derby lists. He has been green and is still learning and is another who has a high ceiling going forward in his three year old year.       

4.      ITSMYLUCKYDAY- Three year old colt has really moved forward from his two year old season to his three year old season. His first start of the year on New Year’s Day, he stalked the leaders early on in the Gulfstream Park Derby, took over past the half mile and never looked back scoring by more than six lengths in a solid time of 1:34:2. He moved up to face off against Grade III company in the Holy Bull Stakes. He faced off against two year old champion Shanghai Bobby, he challenged that runner into the lane and edged away late to score by two lengths. Being by Lawyer Ron, he should have no problem with the Derby distance and has the look of the now three year old for many experts.

5.      REVOLUTIONARY- Another Todd Pletcher trainee, this three year old colt by War Pass looks like he has finally put it together. He broke his maiden in his fourth start in impressive fashion and then followed that up with a win in the Grade III Withers at Aqueduct with a horrendous trip. He showed that he has a ton of talent and gained some racing experience in the Withers. He has tactical speed and a good kick, a good combination to win the Derby.

6.      SHANGHAI BOBBY- Todd Pletcher has a wealth of three year old talent and this is just another in a long list of Pletcher three year olds. He was undefeated as a two year old going five for five but lost his three year old debut to the #4 runner on this list in a good comeback race. He should move forward off that effort and is a very game animal.

7.      NORMANDY INVASION- Three year old by Tapit has three races in his career to date. He broke his maiden in early November in impressive fashion and then followed that up with a nose loss in the Grade II Remsen. This Chad Brown trainee really has the look of a solid racehorse and if he improves from two to three they are going to have a lot to deal with.

8.      GOLDENCENTS- Three year old has three wins from four tries and each of those wins coming over a different track. Trained by Doug O’Neill his most recent win in the Sham was a solid effort for his three year old debut and he has good early speed to put him in the game. He has been working well and could move up this list with another big win.

9.      OVERANALYZE- Had the look of a solid sprinter after failing in the Iroquois at Churchill Downs. But he rebounded in the Remsen, digging in to hold on by a nose back in November over the #7 runner on this list. He does hail from the Todd Pletcher barn and can move forward from two to three and put himself near the top of the list.

10.   OXBOW- He will be the 10th runner on our list. This D. Wayne Lukas trainee put himself in the spotlight with a huge win in the LeComte stakes at the Fair Grounds scoring by more than 11 lengths in wire to wire fashion. That was just his second career win from six tries but his second from his last three starts, he definitely will have to prove it versus better but an improving three year old is a dangerous three year old.



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