In a week that should have shown little movement in the rankings of the Paulick Derby Index by AmWest Entertainment, the Paulick Derby Index has actually shown some fluctuation as co-favorite Quality Road was withdrawn from the race on Monday because of complications resulting from a quarter crack. I Want Revenge, clearly now the favorite among our ballot stuffers, will lead a top ten that has lost some star power with several favorites not making the trip due to injury. That being said, this is still as strong a group as we have seen in years. The Derby this year should be an exciting one to watch with anywhere from 5-10 horses in legitimate contention.
You will also notice that the final week's Paulick Derby Index by AmWest Entertainment features only the top ten contenders. We did this to put an onus on the top echelon of the field and make our last list more exclusive.
Finally, due to the fact that all ballots are submitted by 9 PM EST Monday night and well before Square Eddie's withdrawal, you will see him on several ballots.
Will the PDI be the great predictor it portends to be on Saturday? Only time will tell.
1-Pioneerof the Nile. The Kentucky Derby is a tough race to win, even if everything goes your way, and it's almost impossible for a horse to win if his training has been interrupted. Witness Unbridled's Song, who battled foot problems coming up to the 1996 Derby, where he might have been the best horse but finished fifth while racing with a bar shoe on the problematic foot. If Quality Road's connections felt their horse was sound and sent him to Louisville, I would have bet against him, simply because of the interruption in training. Everything has gone perfectly for Pioneerof the Nile: no interruptions in training due to bad weather or nagging injuries, and he is coming up to this race in the best form of his career. The Empire Maker colt has done everything asked of him, and I doubt trainer Bob Baffert would trade places with anybody.
2-I Want Revenge. It's the horse, stupid. I'm no fan of trainer Jeff Mullins or the IEAH partners that bought into this son of Stephen Got Even, but I do like I Want Revenge. How can you not like a horse that does what he did to win the Wood Memorial after a disastrous start? The race before that, the Gotham Stakes, he showed enough early speed to press the pace and draw off in the stretch to a an easy victory. He is 0-for-2 against Pioneerof the Nile, though his first loss, by a nose in the Cash Call Futurity, was in his first start after breaking his maiden. I think he'll be the betting favorite, but if Pioneerof the Nile beats I Want Revenge, people will be scratching their heads and wondering why.
3-Dunkirk. Todd Pletcher has kept the son of Unbridled's Song under the radar, staying in Florida to train while the rest of the field is in Kentucky, and I don't fault his logic that the track on Derby Day will likely be different from the surface everyone trained on in the weeks leading up to the race. Always seems to be that way. The colt has enormous talent, but there remains that issue of a lack of experience that has stopped many previous Derby contenders with a similar profile.
4-Friesan Fire. One thing we know: if it rains as expected, and the track is sloppy, Friesan Fire will be one happy horse. The A.P. Indy colt seemed to relish the sloppy Fair Grounds surface while winning the Louisiana Derby in a cakewalk. His training up to the race for Larry Jones has been sensational, and the only thing his resume lacks is a victory over tough competition.
5-Musket Man. Beating Giant Oak in the Illinois Derby was no great accomplishment (doesn't somebody always beat Giant Oak?), but it's hard to fault a horse with five wins in six starts. Yonaguska colt seems like the grinder type—not much early speed or quick mid-race acceleration—but if he gets a good enough trip under Eibar Coa I wouldn't be shocked to see him in the top flight at the eighth pole.
6-Papa Clem. Won the Arkansas Derby coming from off the pace, but Smart Strike colt has enough speed to be close up in the early going and maybe even make the lead if no one else wants it. Gary Stute learned from his father, Mel, the West Coast wizard of speed, so a late-week blowout of two or three furlongs might be used to sharpen up Papa Clem after a series of longer works.
7-Chocolate Candy. Has only one way of going, settle in near the back of the field and make a late run, so you know that racing luck will play a role for Candy Ride colt. Hollendorfer has won the Kentucky Oaks twice (Lite Light in 1991 and Pike Place Dancer in1996), proving he can win at the top level of the game while being based in California's “B Circuit” in the Bay Area. Training well, but has to have everything go his way for a victory.
8-Advice. Wise guys are asking how a horse that couldn't win the Sunland Park Derby is going to win the Kentucky Derby. Real Quiet, who came within a nose of winning the 1998 Triple Crown, couldn't win in New Mexico, either, finishing third there as a 2-year-old in a pair of races. Advice demonstrated some quality last year, finishing second but DQed and placed third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and his last to first rally in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes was eye-catching. But races were on Polytrack, however, and he has yet to prove himself on a conventional dirt track (though the same can be said of Pioneerof the Nile).
9-Desert Party. I like the way the son of Street Cry has trained since arriving from Dubai, but I've seen previous Godolphin horses looking sharp in the morning before fading on Derby afternoon. If this one is any different, he'll win without my backing at the windows.
10-Mr. Hot Stuff. Have always thought this Tiznow colt was going to develop into a good one, but it's taken longer than expected. He'll be running late in the Derby, but I think he looks more like a Travers winner.
||Fan Vote||Alex Brown||Paul Moran||Billy Reed||John Conte||Bill Finley|
|Paulick Report||Paulick Report||Alex Brown Racing||At The Races||Billy Reed Says||Conte's Picks
|Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge||Regal Ransom||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge|
|I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Desert Party||Desert Party||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Friesan Fire|
|Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||Musket Man||I Want Revenge||Quality Road||Friesan Fire||Dunkirk|
|Friesan Fire||Dunkirk||Regal Ransom||Pioneerof the Nile||Chocolate Candy||Pioneerof the Nile||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Musket Man||General Quarters||Friesan Fire||Rachel Alexandra||Dunkirk||West Side Bernie||Papa Clem|
|Papa Clem||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk||Chocolate Candy||Friesan Fire||Papa Clem||General Quarters|
|Chocolate Candy||Desert Party||Papa Clem||Friesan Fire||General Quarters||Win Willy||Regal Ransom|
|Advice||Papa Clem||General Quarters||Papa Clem||Musket Man||Musket Man||Desert Party|
|Desert Party||Musket Man||Square Eddie||Musket Man||Papa Clem||General Quarters||Win Willy|
|Mr. Hot Stuff||Hold Me Back||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk||Desert Party||Chocolate Candy||Musket Man|
|Randy Moss||Bill Nack||Valerie Grash||Gary West||Michael Nikolic||Dana Byerly||Jeremy Plonk|
|ESPN||ESPN||Foolish Pleasure||FW Star-Telegram||Gathering the Wind||Green But Game||Horseplayer Pro, ESPN|
|I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk|
|Friesan Fire||Desert Party||Regal Ransom||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Desert Party||I Want Revenge|
|Desert Party||Friesan Fire||Musket Man||Pioneerof the Nile||Chocolate Candy||Regal Ransom||Mr. Hot Stuff|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Pioneerof the Nile||Papa Clem||Desert Party||Papa Clem||Dunkirk||Desert Party|
|Papa Clem||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk||Chocolate Candy||Square Eddie||Papa Clem||Chocolate Candy|
|Musket Man||Hold Me Back||Mr. Hot Stuff||Musket Man||Musket Man||Chocolate Candy||Hold Me Back|
|Chocolate Candy||General Quarters||Chocolate Candy||Papa Clem||Desert Party||Musket Man||Friesan Fire|
|General Quarters||Musket Man||General Quarters||Regal Ransom||Dunkirk||General Quarters||Regal Ransom|
|Regal Ransom||Papa Clem||Summer Bird||West Side Bernie||Regal Ransom||Square Eddie||Win Willy|
|Bill Christine||John Pricci||Vic Zast||Jon White||Richard Eng||Alan Mann||Alicia Wincze|
|Horserace Insider||Horserace Insider||Horserace Insider||HRTV, Santa Anita TV||Las Vegas R-J||Left at the Gate||Lexington H-L|
|I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||Friesan Fire||Dunkirk||Friesan Fire|
|Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Desert Party||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Papa Clem||I Want Revenge|
|Dunkirk||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Papa Clem||Dunkirk||General Quarters||Desert Party|
|Friesan Fire||Chocolate Candy||Regal Ransom||Chocolate Candy||Chocolate Candy||Win Willy||Chocolate Candy|
|Regal Ransom||Desert Party||Desert Party||Musket Man||Hold Me Back||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk|
|Chocolate Candy||Musket Man||Chocolate Candy||Desert Party||General Quarters||Musket Man||Papa Clem|
|Papa Clem||Papa Clem||Hold Me Back||General Quarters||Win Willy||Pioneerof the Nile||Musket Man|
|Musket Man||Regal Ransom||Papa Clem||Dunkirk||Desert Party||Friesan Fire||Regal Ransom|
|General Quarters||General Quarters||Square Eddie||Mr. Hot Stuff||West Side Bernie||Square Eddie||General Quarters|
|Art Wilson||Joe Drape||Andy Serling||Jessica Chapel||Brendan O'Meara||Jeff Scott||Lisa Grimm|
|Los Angeles Newspapers||New York Times||NYRA||Railbird||The Saratogian||The Saratogian||SuperfectaBlog|
|I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Win Willy||Desert Party||Desert Party||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire|
|Friesan Fire||Papa Clem||I Want Revenge||Regal Ransom||Pioneerof the Nile||Pioneerof the Nile||Chocolate Candy|
|Chocolate Candy||Musket Man||West Side Bernie||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Desert Party||Papa Clem|
|Papa Clem||Pioneerof the Nile||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Desert Party||General Quarters||General Quarters|
|Dunkirk||Dunkirk||Musket Man||Papa Clem||Regal Ransom||Papa Clem||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Square Eddie||General Quarters||General Quarters||Dunkirk||Papa Clem||Mr. Hot Stuff||Regal Ransom|
|Musket Man||Desert Party||Papa Clem||Musket Man||Chocolate Candy||Chocolate Candy||Musket Man|
|Hold Me Back||I Want Revenge||Regal Ransom||General Quarters||Musket Man||Hold Me Back||Hold Me Back|
|General Quarters||Square Eddie||Pioneerof the Nile||Chocolate Candy||General Quarters||Regal Ransom||Dunkirk|
|Patrick Patten||Peter Denk||Nick Kling||Simon Bray||Todd Schrupp|
|Tbred Bloggers Alliance||Thoroughbred Times||The Troy Record||TVG||TVG|
|Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||Desert Party|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge|
|I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||General Quarters|
|General Quarters||Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||Chocolate Candy||Regal Ransom|
|Square Eddie||Hold Me Back||Desert Party||Papa Clem||Dunkirk|
|West Side Bernie||Desert Party||Regal Ransom||Desert Party||Friesan Fire|
|Chocolate Candy||Chocolate Candy||Papa Clem||Hold Me Back||Musket Man|
|Musket Man||Papa Clem||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk||Hold Me Back|
|Dunkirk||Musket Man||Musket Man||Musket Man||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Papa Clem||General Quarters||Win Willy||General Quarters||Advice|
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