Scully’s Derby Top 10

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January 28th, 2015

Upstart (Upstart) improved his status while leaving the competition in his wake, romping to a 5 ½-length victory in Saturday’s Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

He moved to #3 in my top 10 list and I’m glad to have some future action on him at 53-1 -- based upon his potential for value, I rated Upstart as “my strongest opinion in Pool 1” of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

The Richard Violette-trained ridgling looks like a natural for the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby distance and his 105 BRIS Speed rating in the Holy Bull bodes well – five of the last six Kentucky Derby winners failed to reach that threshold in their previous starts.

And Upstart’s tactical speed is another attribute.

The competition will get deeper and he’ll need to keep progressing over the next few months, but there’s plenty to like about Upstart at this stage.

Frosted (Tapit) was no match for the winner while finishing second in the Holy Bull but I thought the regally-bred colt lost little in defeat – it was a solid starting point this season for the Kiaran McLaughlin charge. Runner-up in the Remsen (G2), Frosted was making only his second stakes appearance last Saturday.

This is the lone weekend until mid-April without any scoring races in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, but I’m looking forward to watching Saturday’s Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and Sunday’s San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita.

Ami’s Flatter (Flatter), who recorded a fast-closing second while making only his second career attempt in the January 3 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park, is a horse I like in the 1 1/16-mile Sam Davis, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex) will make his anticipated 2014 bow in the seven-furlong San Vicente.

The Kentucky Derby is 13 weeks from Saturday.

  1. Dortmund – Unbeaten Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) winner has recorded four works this month for Bob Baffert and appears likely to make his 2015 bow in the February 7 Robert B. Lewis (G2).
  2.  Carpe Diem – Impressive winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland when trying two turns, Giant’s Causeway colt outfinished Upstart for second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s posted two works this month for Todd Pletcher and is pointing for the February 21 Fountain of Youth (G2).
  3. Upstart – Checked all the boxes opening the year with an impressive win in the Holy Bull – New York-bred is a hot commodity presently.
  4. Texas Red – One-turn distance may not be a perfect fit but expecting to see the late runner finish up strongly in the San Vicente.
  5. American Pharoah – Can’t knock his brilliant two-year-old form but speedster is coming back from an injury and will continue to lose ground if he doesn’t return to the worktab soon.
  6. Frosted – Opened the year with a respectable second in the Holy Bull and consider him a prime candidate for improvement going forward.
  7. Calculator – His ability to corner in the Sham was eye-catching; propensity for longer distances is the main question surrounding the son of In Summation.
  8. El Kabeir – He’s come on in his last two starts for John Terranova, posting wins in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Jerome (G3), and likely guaranteed himself a Derby berth with 21 points so far.
  9. Imperia – Recorded a fast-closing second when making his dirt debut in Kentucky Jockey Club and Medaglia d’Oro colt is working steadily for 2015 bow for McLaughlin.
  10. Firing Line – Followed an impressive maiden tally with an excellent head second in Los Alamitos Futurity; adds depth to a strong Lewis field.

Photo Credit: Adam Coglianese Photography