Scully’s Derby Top 10 – Texas Red in doubt

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February 19th, 2015

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red opened 2015 with a good second in the seven-furlong San Vicente on February 1 and appeared poised to keep moving forward in his final two preps for the Kentucky Derby.

But a reported foot abscess, which became public knowledge on February 10, knocked him out of his next scheduled appearance in Saturday’s Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

A foot abscess wasn’t necessarily a negative nearly three months out from the Kentucky Derby – a temporary setback wouldn’t cost him that much training time. But Texas Red’s connections sent the colt to a farm (instead of keeping him at the track) and trainer Keith Desormeaux didn’t sound like he was expecting a fast recovery last week.

“I wouldn’t even be concerned with having another race at all if we weren’t at the mercy of this points system,” the trainer told the Daily Racing Form. “I’d go straight into the Derby. But you have to run.”

Considering he was speculating upon running Texas Red under extreme conditions at 1 ¼ miles, lining up against 19 rivals under a 126-pound impost with only one start at seven furlongs since November 1, Desormeaux might be the only one not to consider that a big deal.

Texas Red’s status is in doubt and I’ll remove him from the top 10 unless something changes.

The Kentucky Derby is 10 weeks from Saturday.

1)      Dortmund – An impressive allowance winner at Churchill Downs, he’s remained unbeaten through a pair of extremely game performances in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and Robert Lewis (G2). Bob Baffert will train the massive colt up to the April 4 Santa Anita Derby (G1).

2)      Carpe Diem – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up displayed excellent two-year-old form and appears well-suited for a serious Kentucky Derby bid if he continues to improve at three. Will make 2015 bow for Todd Pletcher in March 7 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

3)      Upstart – Earned a terrific 105 BRIS Speed rating posting an easy win in the Holy Bull (G2) and will be the horse to beat in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth (G2),

4)      American Pharoah – Two-year-old champ dominated competition winning a pair of Grade 1s last season and is training forwardly, according to reports, for return. Baffert has mentioned both the March 7 San Felipe (G2) and March 14 Rebel (G2).

5)      The Great War – War Front colt brings dangerous speed to the equation. Ran well when finishing fourth in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, his first attempt around two turns and on dirt, and former Irish-based colt is now under the direction of Wesley Ward. Expected to take Polytrack route at Turfway Park, with the February 28 John Battaglia Memorial up next.

6)      Firing Line – He’s pushed Dortmund to the limit finishing a narrow second in Los Alamitos Futurity and Lewis, and talented colt will continue to be a serious player if he can handle longer distances. Simon Callaghan is considering the March 22 Sunland Derby (G3).

7)      Frosted – No disgrace finishing second in first two stakes attempts, the Remsen (G2) and Holy Bull, and Tapit colt could still have a big upside for Kiaran McLaughlin. Adds blinkers in Fountain of Youth.

8)      Imperia – Late runner took to Churchill Downs main track when making dirt debut in Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), missing by a head in second, and expectations are high for his sophomore season. McLaughln charge returns in Saturday’s Risen Star (G2).

9)      Ocean Knight – Captured career debut at Aqueduct in mid-December and improved to 2-for-2 while overcoming a wide trip in Sam F. Davis (G3). Curlin colt could just be scratching the surface for McLaughlin; March 7 Gotham (G3) is up next.

10)   Far From Over – Loved how he overcame stumbling start to remain unbeaten in Withers and could continue to show more for Pletcher. Hope to see lightly-raced Blame colt in Gotham.