After what she considers the deepest Kentucky Derby prep contested so far this season, TVG's Caton Bredar says the Fountain of Youth Stakes' first three finishers each offer “more pros than cons” — and that reflected Monday in a new edition of the 2019 Kentucky Derby Media Poll assembled by HorseRacingNation.com.
Game Winner, Improbable and War of Will continued to lead the rankings in Week 2, while Code of Honor rose from out of the Top 20 to No. 4 off his victory at Gulfstream Park. Also on the board in the Fountain of Youth, Bourbon War jumped from un-ranked to No. 7, while Vekoma advanced one spot to 10th.
A majority of those on the voting panel, which includes representation by the Daily Racing Form, BloodHorse and Thoroughbred Daily News, among other racing industry trade publications and general news outlets, also aren't discounting beaten Fountain of Youth favorite Hidden Scroll.
The Bill Mott-trained son of Hard Spun, who entered with a 14-length debut win in his only start, slipped only to No. 9 in the Derby Media Poll having finished fourth over the weekend after setting a hot pace.
“He'll obviously need to learn to relax better and change his game to take the next step,” said Churchill Downs racing analyst Joe Kristufek, “but he has the right teacher.”
Mucho Gusto, Instagrand and Country House were others slotted in the Top 10 of the latest Derby Media Poll, released each Monday leading up to the May 4 race at Churchill Downs.
One other new name cracked this week's rankings: Bob Baffert-trained Roadster. That colt came off a layoff dating back to September to win last Friday's featured allowance going two turns at Santa Anita Park.
“Apparently now it's never too late,” quipped XBTV's Zoe Cadman, with Triple Crown winner Justify having used a similar race last year leading into a final Derby prep. “Roadster leapfrogged many others with his facile win at Santa Anita.”
As many as eight of the Top 20 Derby hopefuls are expected to be in action Saturday on a massive afternoon of points qualifiers.
Baffert's potent 1-2 of Game Winner and Improbable should meet Gunmetal Gray in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. Instagrand will ship to New York, taking on Mind Control in the Gotham (G3). Win Win Win, Dream Maker and Well Defined are penciled in for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
“We're starting to get into the good stuff now,” said the Daily Racing Form's Marty McGee.
“If the three big 50-point prep races on March 9 don't hold to form,” added the Buffalo News' Gene Kershner, “expect a big shakeup in next week's poll.”
|Kentucky Derby Media Poll (Week 2)|
|Horse (1st-place votes)||Points||Previous|
|1. Game Winner (21)||646||1|
|2. Improbable (6)||638||2|
|3. War of Will (3)||587||3|
|4. Code of Honor||509||NR|
|5. Mucho Gusto||482||5|
|6. Instagrand (2)||447||6|
|7. Bourbon War||444||NR|
|8. Country House (1)||314||8|
|9. Hidden Scroll||311||4|
|11. Galilean (1)||290||9|
|13. Gunmetal Gray||217||10|
|15. Win Win Win||189||14|
|16. Harvey Wallbanger||165||13|
|17. Dream Maker||146||17|
|18. Mind Control||108||19|
|19. Well Defined||104||15|
Next 10 receiving votes: Omaha Beach, Anothertwistafate, Mucho, Sueno, Long Range Toddy, Global Campaign, Nolo Contesto, Spinoff, Intrepid Heart, Not That Brady.
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