Although Eskendereya turned in by far the most impressive Kentucky Derby prep to date last Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths, we kept Lookin At Lucky atop our latest Derby rankings because you can’t drop the 2-year-old champion just because he hasn’t made his 2010 debut yet.
Speaking of impressive performances, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Dubin turned in the best Derby prep by a losing horse in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., closing strongly to finish second behind gate-to-wire winner Conveyance.
Here’s my latest Derby rankings that I submitted this week to the Paulick Report, which publishes turf writers’ Top 10 Derby lists weekly:
1. Lookin At Lucky — Baffert colt may make 2010 debut in Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 13
2. Eskendereya — Will he be the colt to snap Pletcher’s 0-for-24 drought in Run for the Roses?
3. Super Saver — Slated to make 3-year-old debut in Gotham on March 6 or Rebel the following week
4. Caracortado — Can gelding become first Cal-bred to win Derby since Decidedly in 1962?
5. Dublin — Surgery for entrapped epiglottis seems to have gotten this colt back on the right track
6. Rule — Sam F. Davis Stakes winner ticketed for Florida Derby (March 20) or Wood (April 3) next
7. Dave in Dixie — Probably Sadler’s top Derby hopeful, he’ll start next in San Felipe at Santa Anita
8. Buddy’s Saint — Ranked second last week, this guy had a terrible trip in Fountain of Youth
9. Discreetly Mine — Gate-to-wire Risen Star winner another from the potent Pletcher stable
10. Conveyance — Who’s to say this Baffert colt can’t keep doing what he’s done up to this point?
I haven’t given up on Tiz Chrome and Eightyfiveinafifty, but time is running out on those two speedsters. They have to show something really quick to stay on the trail. Tiz Chrome is ticketed for the Gotham on March 6 at Aqueduct as Baffert moves him back to dirt. Look for a big effort there. One colt to keep an eye on who’s not on this list is the Sadler-trained Sidney’s Candy, who recently won the San Vicente Stakes — a proving ground for nine Kentucky Derby winners — at Santa Anita by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:20.91 — the second fastest San Vicente ever behind Georgie Boy’s 1:20.01 in 2008. The son of Candy Ride will try two turns for the first time when he goes in the 1 1/16-mile Gotham in his next start. Sadler wants to keep his top two Derby hopefuls apart before the big day in May.