2018 Kentucky Derby: Mendehlsson Stays on Top on My Derby Rankings

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D.S. Williamson

April 10th, 2018

The Bluegrass Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and Wood Memorial took place this past weekend. No huge upsets means that going into the Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes on April 14, most horses have already completed their preps for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

It's doubtful my Top 5 changes muchafter the Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes this Saturday. Check it out!

2018 Kentucky Derby:  Mendehlsson Stays on Top on My Derby Rankings

1. Mendehlsson

Like Justify, Mendehlsson's sire is Scat Daddy. That alone is one of the reasons I'm keeping him at the top of my power rankings. He also maintains his #1 position because as good as Justify, Good Magic, and Vino Rosso looked, Mendehlsson looked so much better when beating the hide off his competition in the UAE Derby.

Yes, but he didn't run against anybody. That's what you're thinking, right? So what? Most of Zenyatta's wins weren't against great horses. She still managed to lose only once in her life and that was to Blame in the Breeders' Cup Classic by a slim margin.

2. Justify

Yep, he got an easy lead. But, he also cruised to the wire. At no point during the Santa Anita Derby did I ever believe that Bolt d'Oro was going to catch Justify. Sure, no horse that didn't run as a 2-year-old has won the Kentucky Derby since the 1880's. But, favorites have won the Derby in the past 5 years, and that almost never happened as well.

I think Justify could get better from now until Derby Day. That makes him scary.

3. Bolt d'Oro

Bolt d'Oro put in a good effort. He's just not as talented as Justify. I do feel he's one of the best 3-year-olds in the world, though. The thing I like about Bolt d'Oro is that he always puts in a good effort. If he hits a peak effort on the First Saturday in May, it could be hard to keep him out of the winner's circle. Yes, I believe he's that talented of a race horse.

4. Vino Rosso

I like how he never lost stride after bumping in the stretch. The real question for me is if his performance in the Wood Memorial means that he's put it all together, or if it was the best he can possibly do. If he just put it all together in the Wood Memorial, there's a chance he could improve in the Kentucky Derby. If it's the best he can possibly do, he might not hit the board.

5. Good Magic

Although it might not be fair, Good Magic reminds me of Carpe Diem. For those who don't remember, Carpe Diem finished 10th in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. That was the Derby where American Pharoah held off Firing Line while another California based horse, Dortmund, ran third.

Carpe Diem had just won the Tampa Bay Derby and Bluegrass Stakes back-to-back. If any horse had a chance to upset American Pharoah, it sure looked like Carpe Diem did. However, Carpe Diem ran a slow speed rating, no matter which rating you use, when he won the Bluegrass. Same with Good Magic when he won the Bluegrass Stakes.

In the Bluegrass Stakes, Good Magic passed a tiring horse, Flameaway, that had done all the running. Flameaway isn't close to the type of front running speed Good Magic will face in the Derby. Running down Mendelssohn and Justify won't be as easy as running down Flameaway.

He makes the list because he's got some talent and Magnum Moon hasn't won the Arkansas Derby yet. Once Magnum Moon takes home the Arkansas Derby, Good Magic will drop out of my Top 5 for sure.