2013 Kentucky Derby Hopefuls Are Hitting The Dirt!

Derby Day at Churchill Downs!

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Shanghai Bobby & Goldencents Leading The Pack

The Kentucky Derby prep schedule is in full force and the contenders for this year’s “Run for the Roses” are starting to emerge. The Derby Prep schedule is nearly 2/3 complete and then the stakes are raised in the Fountain of Youth, as it begins the Championship Series, where the points awarded for victories spikes. In the first eight races of the Championship Series, wins will be worth 50 points and in the final seven events it moves up to 100 points for a victory.

Currently, Shanghai Bobby is considered as the top Kentucky Derby favorite and rightfully so after having an undefeated two-year-old campaign and winning the Eclipse Award for male juveniles. Todd Pletcher’s star was sitting at 5-0 before being upset in the Holy Bull Stakes by Itsmyluckyday. Shanghai Bobby may run again as soon as the Fountain of Youth on February 23rd and it’s almost certain that he will be in the Florida Derby.

Goldencents is currently tied atop of the point’s standings with Shanghai Bobby, having captured 24 points with his wins in the Sham Stakes and the Delta Downs Jackpot. He finished runner-up to Shanghai Bobby in the Champagne Stakes back in October. Goldencents, who recently worked six furlongs with a time of 1:10.20, is trained by Doug O’Neill and owned by a group that boasts University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino among its members. The emerging colt is stationed on the west coast and will likely be seen next in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in Santa Anita. O’Neill is also training Paul Reddam’s He’s Had Enough, who has been up and down in his first five career starts, with his best showing (other than a maiden race win) being a second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. O’Neill and Reddam teamed up last year to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown with I’ll Have Another.

D. Wayne Lukas is looking to move forward in search of his first Kentucky Derby win since 1999. Oxbow recently took the Lecomte Stakes after a slow start to his career, when it took him four maiden races to finally bring home his first win. Oxbow may race next in the Risen Star Stakes at Fairgrounds in Louisiana for his next start, and he currently sits in the seventh spot on Horse Racing Nations top three-year-old rankings. Lukas is also training Smarty Jones winner Will Take Charge and hopes to have two serious Derby contenders moving towards May.

Todd Pletcher isn’t satisfied having the top Derby contender, as he seems to have an embarrassment of riches with three more horses who are being taken very seriously on the Derby trail. Violence has started out 3-0 with wins in the Nashua Stakes and the Cash Call Futurity and recently worked a four furlong breeze at Palm Meadows in :48.09 and may next be seen in what could be a loaded Fountain of Youth Stakes. Pletcher is also training Overanalyze and Revolutionary, both of whom are ranked in the Horse Racing Nation top 20. Overanalyze has two graded stakes wins to his credit so far and Revolutionary is likely to make his first appearance in a stakes race in the Withers at Aqueduct.

These are just a few of the many who are making a push to be a part of the Kentucky Derby in May. It takes a lot of hard work and even some luck for a horse to find his way into the 20 horse field at Churchill Downs and we are certain to see some contenders arise that are currently waiting in the wings. Other notable colts to keep an eye on are a pair from Bob Baffert (Power Broker & Flashback) as well as a couple trained by Mark Casse (Uncaptured & Dynamic Sky).

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