Byron King Derby Dozen for March 16

bloodhorse news editor king byron presents its latest Derby Dozen for 2022, with a look at its top contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 7.

Last weekend, Classic Causeway cemented his position as the leading Derby prospect by winning the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. This weekend, there are no preparations scheduled for qualifying points. The activity resumes the following weekend when March ends and continues until mid-April with the most prestigious races on the Derby preparation calendar.

Visit the America’s Best Racing Triple Crown page to stay up to date with stories and stats on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.


1. Zandon

Unlucky not to have won a stakes race yet, having been second by a nose in a tough Remsen Stakes last fall and third after a slow start in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, he runs next in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes from April 9. at Keeneland. Coach Chad Brown said Daily Race Form‘s David Grening last week that Flavien Prat will ride the colt there, while Jose Ortiz will pilot Early Voting later that day at the Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct. Zandon worked a half mile on March 12 at Payson Park in :48 2/5.


2. Smile happily

The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner and Risen Star runner-up closed out as the 6.50-1 slight favorite among individual betting interests in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager at Churchill Downs, just ahead of Forbidden Kingdom at 7.30-1. One would expect it to be popular on Derby Day as well, and furniture tycoon Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale would also bet a small fortune on Runhappy’s son. All three of his starts have been excellent, and he’s a candidate to advance in his second start of the year.


3. Forbidden Kingdom

Five of the last six Kentucky Derby winners (on mutual tickets) have been first or second after the first quarter of a race. That bodes well for this sprinter. After his lead win in the San Felipe Stakes, he looms in a matchup with Messier in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 9. The latter will quickly join the Dozen if he changes his Derby eligibility outlook.


4. Epicenter

Trainer Steve Asmussen often gives his horses a stiff breeze 12 days before a major engagement, and that was the case at Epicenter on March 14 at Fair Grounds, where he worked a five-furlong shot in :59 3/5 . That should set him up for the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 26, a race that is also expected to draw Rattle N Roll, Call Me Midnight and Zozos.


5. White Quarter

Perhaps his clear victory over Simplification, which started slowly and Mo Donegal, who recovered late in the Holy Bull Stakes on February 5, seemed too far for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager bettors via Churchill Downs, who left him drift to 22.90-1 this past. weekend. This colt should not be underestimated. His only loss in four starts came on a surprising trip when he was third at the Kentucky Jockey Club last year.


6. Simplification

As good as he looked in winning the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 5, he beat some opponents who weren’t at their best. The second option, Emmanuel, went slowly and wide. Rattle N Roll came back from a five-month break and ran like a horse that needs a run. And High Oak and Galt went down (uninjured) in a race with a spill. Still, Simplification won despite traffic early down the stretch when he was sandwiched between the horses and after losing ground with a wide rally at turn two.


7. Classic road

His quickness in the gate served him well at Tampa Bay Downs this winter and should benefit him in the annual 20-horse scrum that is the Kentucky Derby. As handily as he won the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 12, let’s not forget that the race has produced just two Derby winners and the modest accomplishments of the 3-year-olds who chased him there. The upcoming start of Classic Causeway in the Blue Grass should prove revealing.


8. Mo Donegal

The Wood is next on his itinerary after trainer Todd Pletcher said this colt developed a slight fever in the days leading up to the Fountain of Youth, leading to his zero from that race, where he had tied for the spot. 12. As of March 14, he had yet to return to the work tab, hoping to see him back soon. A start at the Wood will put him back to competing at the track and distance he captured the Remsen in December.


9. Immanuel

Fourth with a troublesome ride at the Fountain of Youth in his first stakes engagement, he has just five Derby qualifying points. He’ll likely need a top-two finish to qualify safely, though maybe he could make the race for the roses with a third (worth 20 more on his account). Perhaps due to his limited points in the Derby, he moved to odds of 33.80-1 in the latest Kentucky Derby futures bet. The opinion of him in this corner is still high.


10. Morello

After winning the Gotham Stakes on March 5, he resumed the breeze on March 14 with a leg-stretching half mile in :52 1/5 at Belmont Park. Slow time aside, seeing him get back to work so soon after Gotham suggests he came out of the race in good shape. Perfect in three starts, though none beyond a mile, he faces his first two-lap test at the Wood. His mother scored his only win in seven furlongs on clay, but he placed on multiple routes.


11. Rattle and Roll

Trainer Kenny McPeek likes the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby and plans to return the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity winner there, three weeks after his sixth at the Fountain of Youth when he ran like a low horse off the bench. That run didn’t seem to knock him out. A tweet from owner Lucky Seven Stable showed video of the colt in a brisk gallop Saturday at Gulfstream Park.


12. In due time

The Fountain of Youth runner-up is holding on to the final spot in the Derby Dozen, edging out grade winners Early Voting and Un Ojo, and quick and well-mannered inaugural winner Charge It. In Due Time is likely to take on the latter, White Abarrio and Simplification in the Curlin Florida Derby on April 2 at Gulfstream, a race that should give you an idea of ​​the pecking order in South Florida.

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