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Top Ten 2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Casey’s Picks

Top Ten 2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders; Casey’s Picks: Following the 2015 Road To The Kentucky Derby is a great way to get to know the horses that could possibly make it to the Churchill Downs starting gate the first Saturday of May. The 141st Kentucky Derby takes place on May 2, 2015 and many of the contenders will compete for Kentucky Derby Points to ensure their entry into the Run for the Roses. As we watch the prep races (see schedule) over the next couple of months, we’ll observe the following horses listed below, handpicked by Casey!

Upstart Kentucky Derby

After drawing away to win easily in the Holy Bull, Upstart jumped to the top of Casey’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 list.
Photo: Lauren King, Coglianese Photos, Inc.

1 Upstart (Flatter o/o Party Silks, by Touch Gold) – After drawing away to win easily in the Holy Bull, Upstart jumped to the top of my Kentucky Derby top 10 list. While I am not too fond of his sire, he still has loads of Classic blood and potential coursing through his veins. He isn’t committed to either, but trainer Violette Jr. is looking at the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby or the Gotham and Wood to get Upstart to Louisville.

2 Texas Red (Afleet Alex o/o Ramatuele (CHI), by Jeune Homme) – working nicely in California, Texas Red is likely to start in the San Vicente before wielding back rather quickly to possibly go in the Risen Star. The colt has Classic lines throughout and has proven to be a tough competitor. He may use the Santa Anita Derby as his final Kentucky Derby prep. Hopefully this one stays happy and healthy.

3 Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway o/o Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) – Royal bloodlines won’t allow me to give up on him yet. He was further back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which he was not used to, and closed nicely to grab second place away from Upstart. He is working well and is likely to start soon. Todd Pletcher only has one Derby win to his credit, but this colt gives him some more hope to nab a second victory.

4 Blofeld (Quality Road o/o Storm Minstrel, by Storm Cat) – This young son of 2014 Champion Freshman Sire, Quality Road, is currently undefeated. His last win was in the Nashua, where he defeated El Kabeir. However, I do question the talent of the Nashua field. While First Down recently won, he was defeated by 20+ lengths in that race by Blofeld. Blofeld has not posted a work since his Nashua win.

5 Dortmund (Big Brown o/o Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) – Undefeated son of Big Brown likely has more to say as he continually trains well at Santa Anita with trainer Bob Baffert. His pedigree is questionable, but he was able to get up just in time in the Los Alamitos Futurity over Firing Line and Mr. Z. Can he stay undefeated at the California competition gets hotter?

6 Firing Line (Line of David o/o Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) – Second by a whisker in the Los Alamitos Futurity, this Line of David colt has a bit of nothing in his pedigree in the immediate family. While his sire did win the Arkansas Derby, he failed miserable in the Kentucky Derby. His damsire, Hold for Gold, was unraced and hasn’t proven much of anything. Can he outrun his pedigree?

International Star Kentucky Derby

The Ramsey’s seem to always find a horse to get into the Kentucky Derby. Can International Star bring home the big win for Ramsey Farm?
Photo: Lou Hodges, Jr.

7 International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus o/o Parlez, by French Deputy) – International Star made his LeComte victory seem easy, but while he raced greenly in the stretch and failed to change leads until very late, he did win the race for the Ramsey’s. The Ramsey’s seem to always find a horse to get into the Kentucky Derby. Could International Star fly like his sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, and win the Kentucky Derby? If so, he needs to improve quickly.

8 Mr. Z (Malibu Moon o/o Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat) – Mr. Z is one of the horses you cannot count out, but you cannot count on him either. Mr. Z seems to always fine a way to lose, rather than win. In his last race, he finished third in the Smarty Jones Stakes (listed) after veering to the very outside rail and tossing his head. He seemed to have it until that moment. He needs to mentally mature or Louisville will not miss him.

9 El Kabeir (Scat Daddy o/o Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) – This son of Scat Daddy is not only gorgeous, but he runs like he’s been doing it for years. He is professional, willing, gritty, and full of heart. So why do I have him so low? I don’t believe his pedigree is best for the 10F Kentucky Derby. El Kabeir is obviously one of the best three-year-olds right now, I am not sure I would pick him to win the Kentucky Derby.

10 Khozan (Distorted Humor o/o Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy) – The Curse of Apollo set in on this half brother to Royal Delta on January 1. Unraced as a two-year-old, this Todd Pletcher trainee broke his maiden in impressive style. Pletcher mentioned wanting to go for an allowance next, instead of the Fountain of Youth, but after Khozan’s dominating maiden victory, how can Pletcher not be excited about this colt’s potential?

…And one more for good luck!
11 Calculator (In Summation o/o Back to Basics, by Alphabet Soup) – Calculator is connected to such a key group of horses (Texas Red and American Pharoah) but I simply cannot back this horse after a second in the Del Mar Futurity and the Frontrunner. Breaking his maiden in the G3 Sham Stakes against no one special, the colt simply doesn’t have the breeding I need him to have. His sire, In Summation, has only one son to win passed 7F: Calculator. His breeding says one mile, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Related Links:
Top Ten Kentucky Oaks Contenders
Five Steps To Get To The Kentucky Derby