Apr 29, 2005
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
Well the time has come, the Kentucky Derby is almost here, all the preps are done we are just waiting for the gates to spring open. This year has a very interesting crop and will make for a very exciting Summer. The following is our top five for the Derby.
- BANDINI- Improving three year old by FUSAICHI PEGASUS just continues to get better. After a good second in the Florida Derby, despite racing greenly he went on to an easy score in the Blue Grass stakes. He is trained by the reigning Eclipse Award winning trainer, Todd Pletcher and ridden by the reigning Eclipse Award winning jockey, John Velazquez. His tactical speed will come in handy in the Kentucky Derby. Velazquez will be able to place him in a good spot regardless of his post position. He looks like the one with the most room for improvement and if that happens it will make him tough on Kentucky Derby day.
- SUN KING- Was near the top of most Kentucky Derby lists before his fourth place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. He was very wide that day and that may have cost him a few lengths but he was coming off two huge performances and a let down was not unexpected. He is by Kentucky Derby hero CHARISMATIC and should handle the distance, the price will be right so he should be given another shot.
- AFLEET ALEX- Is another that was at the top of many lists, then fell out of favor with a poor performance but is now back at the top again. The only worry is that the Arkansas Derby was too much too soon and the fact that he was facing a weak field also comes into play. However his time was impressive and his final 1/8th was run in under 12 seconds. His tactical speed will also come in handy and should be well placed in the Derby.
- NOBLE CAUSEWAY- Trainer Nick Zito will be well represented in the Derby and this one will have as good a shot as any. If the pace is fast his chances will improve and his breeding is solid, GIANT’S CAUSEWAY is the sire out of a SEEKING THE GOLD mare. With that breeding and his running style he should have no problem getting the 1 and ¼ miles distance. Was a good second behind HIGH FLY in the Florida Derby and can only get better off that race.
- BELLAMY ROAD- Another from the Zito barn and the third one on this list has only two races this year and he has won both of them by a combined 33 lengths, most recently in the Wood Memorial by 17 ½ lengths. He has won both races this year on the lead but will see more pressure in the Derby. If he can rate off the speed and handle the fact that he is coming off two huge races and not bounce he will obviously have a big shot in the Derby. His time in the Wood was huge and he was never asked to run, this should make for an interesting Derby. Good Luck to all!
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