An October Look At A Few Kentucky Derby Hopefuls

Breeders' Cup On The Horizon

It’s officially fall, as the leaves are turning, the mornings are getting cool and crisp and the excitement of the Breeders’ Cup is building for racing fans. The championships are a great couple of days for horse racing overall, but a bulk of the attention for thoroughbred fans gets placed on the two-year-old males, as the juveniles of today will turn into the Kentucky Derby contenders of tomorrow. With several races already down in the Kentucky Derby prep season, a few early favorites are coming into view.

Shanghai Bobby is leading the way in the Horse Racing Nation rankings for the top two-year-old Kentucky Derby contenders. The Todd Pletcher trained colt, by Harlan’s Holiday and out of Steelin’ has won his first four races. He has won two important races so far with the Grade II Hopeful Stakes and most recently he took the Grade I Champagne Stakes by five lengths, earning him a position in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as well as ten points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings. He is undoubtedly one of the top contenders for two-year-old male of the year and his performance at Santa Anita next month will likely play a huge factor in him earning an Eclipse award this winter.

Despite only having one victory under his belt in three starts, Know More is considered to be a Derby contender early on. Supremely confident in this thoroughbred’s ability, owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill wasted no time in putting this horse to the test. His first race was at Del Mar in the Grade II Best Pal Stakes and Know More didn’t disappoint. Much like last year’s Derby winner, I'll Have Another, who was also owned and trained by the Reddam and O’Neill team, Know More stalked the leaders and didn’t push until the turn and then surged down the stretch to take his first race. He ran nearly the same way in his second start, in the Del Mar Futurity, but couldn’t quite make up the ground to catch the winner, Rolling Fog. In Know Mores third start he finished second once again, as the entire field was outclassed by the very speedy Power Broker. Know More is being pointed towards the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is going to be one to watch over the coming months.

Power Broker, trained by Bob Baffert has started out his career in a curious manner. In his maiden race, the colt, by Pulpit, didn’t place in a six furlong race, so in his second start he was moved up to a mile. In this contest he fared better, finishing in third. For his next race, Power Broker was kept at a mile, but was put on the turf and showed that the distance suited him. He and Shining Copper led most of the way by several lengths, but were caught by the field at the turn. Power Broker was able to hold his speed but was over taken in the final furlong by Dry Summer and had to settle for second. The colts coming out party was in the one mile, Grade I Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita. He ran a nice patient race, but it was obvious coming down the stretch that as the field faded, he was picking up steam and went on to secure 10 points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings, with a five length win.

These three colts are definitely worth keeping an eye on as we progress through the racing schedule this fall and winter. Other two-year-olds that are expected to impact the division are Kiaran McLaughlin’s Fortify, who placed second in the Hopeful Stakes, the Michael Maker trained and Breeders’ Futurity winner Joha, and another Baffert colt, Rolling Fog, who has started his career at 2-0, including a win in the Del Mar Futurity. This is an exciting time of the year for racing fans everywhere and a great time to start catching the future stars as we run towards the spring and Triple Crown racing!

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