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Updated on November 15, 2012

Shanghai Bobby Leads The Pack

Now that the Breeders’ Cup is in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start looking ahead to who the top contenders are for the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Last year at this time, the buzz among Derby hopefuls was centering on Creative Cause, Union Rags, and Hansen. None of those horses was a factor in that race, but Creative Cause finished third in the Preakness and Union Rags won the Belmont, at least somewhat giving credence to their early hype. Will this year be similar or will the top rated colts in November be the Kentucky Derby favorites in May?

This week Derby Deals switched from the three-year-old division to the two-year-old division in our top five rankings. While the 2012 spring and summer season had its exciting moments, it also had its share of injury and illness that seemed to plague the season at every turn. With that, we’ll turn the page on last year and turn our focus to a new crop of potential stars. At the top of the Derby Deals Top Five is none other than the undefeated Shanghai Bobby. Shanghai Bobby has had a great start to his career as he sits at 5-0. Todd Pletcher and Starlight Racing have to be excited about his potential, as he is still a bit immature, even though he has been able to win three consecutive graded stakes races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Shanghai Bobby isn’t likely to have a true challenger for two-year-old of the year at the Eclipse Awards in January.

Sifting the horses out under the top seated Shanghai Bobby is a bit tougher. In our rankings, we are going with He’s Had Enough, who may seem like a surprise on paper. Doug O’Neill’s colt has yet to win anything other than his maiden trip, but his showing in the Breeders’ Cup, where he finished just a head from victory, showed the great potential that lies in this thoroughbred. He closed out well and turned out to be the only real challenger for Shanghai Bobby. Don’t forget that last year’s Derby winner, also trained by O’Neill and owned by Paul Reddam, I’ll Have Another, had a fairly uneventful two-year-old season as well. O’Neill and Reddam also hold the third spot on the top five with Know More. This colt has had three strong showings in his four starts, including second place finishes in the Frontrunner Stakes and the Del Mar Futurity. This is a horse with quite a bit of potential and one that we’ll be watching closely. His next contest is likely to be in the Delta Downs Jackpot this weekend.

Other than his maiden race, Fortify, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, hasn’t broken through with a victory yet, but he is still likely to be a formidable part of the Derby Championship Series. He’s ran in three straight graded stakes races, and all of them have been won by Shanghai Bobby, with Fortify taking either second, third, or fourth in those contests. Kelly Breen’s Berne Identity rounds out the top five, as the colt has had a solid beginning to his career. Berne Identity has won three times in five starts, including the Grade II Sanford Stakes at Saratoga and most recently he took the Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs. His next probable start will be at the Delta Downs Jackpot and he will be matched up against other Derby hopefuls, such as Hightail, who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, and Know More.

Though they have not broken into our initial top five, keep your eye on up and comers such as Power Broker, Overanalyze, Balance the Books, and Capo Bastone. Those are just a few of the names that we can point to as early Derby hopefuls who may be at the starting gate, waiting to rush towards history on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky!

I'll Have Another Takes The 2012 Derby!


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