Mucciolo’s Top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders

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February 18th, 2021

The 147th Kentucky Derby is a little over 10 weeks away, and it’s never too early to talk about the “Run for the Roses." The major prep races have yet to be contested, though numerous three-year-olds have already displayed considerable ability and seem poised to move forward as the season progresses. I believe that this is among the best crops of sophomores that we have witnessed in a few years.

Here is my early Top 10:

  1. Greatest Honour -- Holy Bull S. (G3) romper is rapidly ascending for conditioner Shug McGaughey. Tapit colt is from a family with multiple classic winners in it, and the rising star will handle the Derby distance with relative ease. I was surprised to see him close at 40-1 odds in the second pool of the KDFW.
  1. Mandaloun -- Juddmonte homebred is once-beaten from four career tries for Brad Cox, who has a pair of major contenders on my list. Son of Into Mischief continues to get faster with each race (84-92-94-100), a trend that I love. Colt is built like a stayer, and he also possesses the early speed to be involved from the start.
  1. Life is Good -- Baffert pupil has aced both career assignments in front-running fashion, led by a tally in the Sham S. (G3) last time out. Fleet colt continues to train in fine fashion, and I have no idea just how good the son of Into Mischief can be. He closed as the individual favorite in the first three Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools.
  1. Concert Tour -- The second from the Baffert shedrow captured the San Vicente S. (G2) to move his mark to two-for-two. While I have not been overly impressed with him to date, I do feel that he will vault forward when stretching out to two-turn racing.
  1. Prevalence -- Medaglia d’Oro colt was ultra impressive in a dazzling debut at Gulfstream Park. Godolphin homebred lacks seasoning, but the sky appears to be the limit for the well-bred bay.
  1. Risk Taking -- Klaravich color bearer has morphed into a new animal since adding blinkers for Chad Brown. Withers S. (G3) victor will handle a classic distance with ease, and the three-year-old could move up on this list if he improves in his next assignment.
  1. Essential Quality -- Juvenile champ continues to work towards his 2021 debut for Brad Cox. Unbeaten son of the mighty Tapit has a nice foundation under him, and he will return to action in the Feb. 27 Southwest S. (G3).
  1. Tarantino -- Brisset charge made a big move forward in his dirt debut when runner-up in the Holy Bull. Pioneerof the Nile colt is bred to run all day, and improvement is expected going forward from the talented sophomore.
  1. Olympiad -- Mott trainee is a longshot on the list since he has not worked since mid-January, but he left quite the impression on me in his maiden win last campaign when toppling a superb field at Saratoga. I am hopeful that the son of Speightstown will return to the track real soon.
  1.  Clairiere -- Asmussen-trained filly might never face the boys and go down the Derby Trail, but I came away super impressed with her ability and athleticism when she took the Rachel Alexandra S. (G2) off the layoff. Daughter of Curlin has a very bright future.