Ryan's Top Ten Contenders

1. Conquest Titan- His second-place effort last time out in the Holy Bull showed that he can, in fact, run with the big boys despite his last place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He is set to run in the Florida Derby next time out on March 29th at Gulfstream Park where he is scheduled to face off against familiar foe Cairo Prince who beat him in the Holy Bull. He's been on my radar since he won on Closing Day at Churchill despite stumbling coming out the gate.

2. Cairo Prince- He's high up on everyone's list right now. Just watch the Holy Bull and you'll know why. If healthy this contender and Conquest Titan will duke it out once more before the Derby on March 29th in the Florida Derby. If both horses stay healthy, it should make for an exciting stepping stone to the Run for the Roses!

3. Tamarando- His race last Saturday in the El Camino Real Derby showed why he belongs on the Derby trail. It's great to see this one back to his winning ways. He hadn't won a race since last summer when he captured the Grade1 Del Mar Futurity. The big question mark with this one is whether he can run on conventional dirt? If you look back on past performances, his races on dirt have been good ones with a late-closing third last fall in the Grade1 Frontrunner and a second in the California Cup Derby earlier this year, both at Santa Anita. I don't see dirt being an issue for this one. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is pointing this son of Bertrando to the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park next month.

4. Constitution- He runs tomorrow at Gulfstream in an allowance and should be pretty tough. Constitution broke his maiden last month at Gulfstream and won, despite walking coming out of the gate. He's just one of the many able soldiers that make up Pletcher's Army for this year's Kentucky Derby.

5. Shared Belief- I like this Eclipse Award winner just as much as the next person, but the fact that he hasn't run yet is worrying me a little bit. He was scheduled to run in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis earlier this month but was set back due to an injury. We'll see what comes of him.

6. Tapiture- Two stakes in a row for this one. He ended last year on a great note with a win in the Grade2 Kentucky Jockey Club on Closing Day at Churchill Downs and he began his three-year-old career on a great note with a win in the Grade3 Southwest Stakes last Monday at Oaklawn Park where he beat Grade 1 winner Strong Mandate.

7. Harpoon- Earlier this month, he re-rallied to get second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs where he was beaten by his stable mate Vinceremos. Approaching the far turn, Harpoon was backing up and didn't appear to have much left, but at the top of the stretch he found another gear to finish a strong second beaten only by a head.

8. Honor Code- This horse is high on a lot of people's lists. I think highly of him too, despite some issues lately that have set him back a bit. The original plan was for him to run this weekend in the Fountain of Youth but he is now on track to run in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 15th.

9. Dance With Fate- Even though he could do no better than second, he still ran a solid race against Tamarando last weekend. Peter Eurton is pointing this son of Two Step Salsa to the Grade 2 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12th.

10. Bayern- Just watch his last race at Santa Anita last Thursday and it will leave you saying, "Wow!". That 15 length romp looked mighty nice and I can't wait to see him step up against stakes company.