Kentucky Derby Championship Series Winners Are Top Contenders

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TwinSpires Staff

April 20th, 2016

by Laura Pugh

My, oh my, how the mighty have fallen since the completion of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series!

The list on the left shows my ranking of horses I expected to be *in* the Kentucky Derby. The list on the right is my ranking of the horses currently in the Derby. For Free Ultimate Past Performances of Kentucky Derby contenders, CLICK HERE.

Five of my bottom six horses failed to make the Kentucky Derby with Brody’s Cause the only horse from the list on the left now in the field on the strength of his Blue Grass Stakes victory.

Horses that haven’t necessarily been replaced on the list, but have moved several spots down are Mohaymen and Destin.

They were ranked first and second on the last list, but now are ranked 8th and 9th. Mohaymen’s flop in the Florida Derby, against Nyquist, has me wondering if he really was as good as advertised. He could have just not handled the going that day, but it is rare for a horse to bounce back with a win in the Kentucky Derby off such a poor effort in their last outing.

Destin has been moved down due to such an unconventional route that trainer Todd Pletcher is using with him. Since the Tampa Bay Derby, Pletcher has announce that the Tampa Bay Derby would serve as Destin’s final prep.

That will give Destin an eight-week gap leading up to the big dance, with his farthest prep coming at just 1 1/16th miles. With such little racing and foundation, I wonder if Destin will be ready to run the 1 ¼ miles against 19 others.

Two horses that have moved up considerably on the list are Nyquist and Exaggerator. After being ranked 8th and 12th they have taken over the first and second place spot. If you need a reason why, then just take a look at their final preps.

Exaggerator finally found his footing, with a big win in the slop in the Santa Anita Derby. He now owns some of the highest figures of his generation, and his connections have finally figured out what running style best suits him.

Nyquist earned an enormous amount of respect from me in the Florida Derby. He was hounded all the way around the track, and then turned back a late bid from the previously unbeaten Mohaymen. It was his first time going 9 furlongs, and it was his first race off a six-week layoff, making the effort that much more impressive.

At this point all we have left to worry about is the draw and how each horse takes to the track. So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. If you hear of a horse that is working off the charts, give them a strong look, if they are having trouble it could be time to toss them.

Get ready folks, we are finally in the final stretch on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.