Nick’s Updated 2020 Top Kentucky Derby Contenders

Notes from Nick

With the racing schedule being thrown off while tracks are being shut down, it’s going to be very hard for trainers to keep their 3-year-olds who are on the derby trail, going in the right direction. These contenders are going to need to race and their trainers will need to keep their horses sharp by racing them as well as training them up to derby day, now is September!

With this is mind there will also be other 3-year-olds that needed more time or more races to grow into their very best, becoming better 3-year-olds and with the date of the race being moved out several months later, it’s a total game changer. It will now be possible for a 3-year-old that might have been a fringe player in February-March, to gain traction and move forward through having more races and recovery time for this later race date. Right now, for any 3-year-old that has enough points to make the starting gate, being given more races, more training, and more recovery time, nothing is off limits and it’s quite possible they can improve their game a great deal! Therefore, considering the later date of the Kentucky Derby, there could be a lot of unforeseen changes to the 3-year-old picture regarding the top Derby contenders and in fact any 3-year-old can improve a great deal this late in their season. By September, these contenders are actually 3 ½ year olds. This certainly widens the scope of Derby contenders!

Until then, here is Nick’s updated list:

Tiz the Law – Looked very good in winning the Florida Derby in his last start. He duplicated his best running style once again of stalking just off the early lead then pouncing on that last turn into the stretch. Tiz has shown some brilliance in his efforts and seems to be improving with every passing effort. We had him highlighted as a top contender since his win in the Champaign Stakes back as a 2-year-old and he hasn’t disappointed. Tiz keeps stepping forward through each effort and that’s what you want to see in a 3-year-old right now. He keeps getting better.

Authentic- Blessed with sharp early speed was able to get a quick opening quarter in the San Felipe and then was allowed to slow the pace down, while having an uncontested lead all the way around the track. Still unsure of how successful he will be trying to get a longer distance against a competitive field and in a real pace scenario. Yes, talented so keep on hold for now.

Nadal- Has great early speed, in fact looking more like a sprinter than a router from his first career start, had his Blinks taken off for his Rebel effort to try to slow him down a few ticks early, as he still battled on the front end and lasted for the win. Examining the quality of his effort, each quarter he turned in was slower than his prior quarter, which is fine of course, depicting a horse on the early lead that is wearing down. However, and then very oddly he finished his last 1/16th at a faster pace than he recorded in any of his last 3 quarters. Here are his personal breakdowns-

Actual splits:  :22 4/5 – :23 1/5 – :25 1/5 – :27 1/5  and :6 2/5

Final Projected Finish  :12 4/5 for an 1/8th & :25 3/5 for his last quarter!

This isn’t natural for a horse while running on the front end and this screams at something being “off”.  It seems like a “Maximum Security” training maneuver and after learning how Baffert got Justify to win, while fleecing a Triple Crown, who’s to say they are sure that this is not happening here?

Solo Volante– Has a very strong late finish and judging by his last 2 efforts he is certainly developing into a top contender to take it all on Derby day. In the Sam Davis he came from being 20 lengths out of it to nail the leader in late stretch like he was standing still. He followed that effort with a big finish once again in the Tampa Bay Derby, getting up for 2nd. Solo keeps stepping forward off his prior effort and he is surely a top contender for all the marbles! 

King Guillermo – Always showed potential as he has very good early speed, however seemed maybe he might be more of a grass horse, although well-bred for any surface. He made believers out of most as he took down the Tampa Bay Derby at 50-1 to the delights of our newsletter followers. King was able to stalk and just blew away the leaders turning for home as he took over and just kept going in a giant quality effort. Right now, he’s on top of his game and we’ll see if he steps forward off this effort into his next start.