Ryan's Top 10 Contenders - Part II

1. Conquest Titan Trainer: Mark Casse Owner: Conquest Stables, LLC

He’s still my number 1. Perhaps that will change depending on his effort this Saturday. He is entered in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby this weekend which should make for a very nice race. He finished ahead of eventual Risen Star winner Intense Holiday last time out in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Cairo Prince Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin Owner: Darley, Namcook Stables, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clark, Craig Robertson III

Fans are anxiously awaiting his next race which, if all goes as planned, will take place in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 29 at Gulfstream Park. Last week, he was purchased by Darley Stables, and after his five furlong bullet workout in :59 1/5, can you blame them?

3. Tamarando Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer Owner: Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer should have this one ready for the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park later this month. The colt hasn’t run a bad race and has proven that he can run well on dirt, despite his two biggest wins on a synthetic surface.

4. Constitution Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher Owner: WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creek Racing Stables, LLC

As of last Saturday, he’s an undefeated 2 for 2. Last time out, he beat a good field in an allowance optional claiming where he defeated Tonalist, a four-length winner at Gulfstream two starts back and Mexikoma, sixth-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall. I suspect Pletcher will put this one in a stakes next time out.

5. Shared Belief Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer Owner: Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, Hollendorfer, Litt, Solis II and Todaro

Many racing fans are beginning to wonder when this son of Candy Ride will make his three-year-old debut. He has yet to run since his impressive winning effort in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at the defunct Betfair Hollywood Park last December. Hopefully, the gun will be loaded and he’ll be ready to run next time out. A target race has yet to be determined.

6. Tapiture Trainer: Steve Asmussen Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

His effort in the Southwest was great, and I can’t wait to see what else this horse has in store. If he makes it to the Derby, liking the track won’t be an issue since he won over the surface last fall in the Grade 3 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Closing Day. He’s a very consistent horse having never finished off the board in five career starts.

7. Top Billing Trainer: Claude McGaughey III Owner: Farish, William S. and Hudson, Jr., E. J.

Last time out in the Fountain of Youth, he was a late-closing third on a speed-biased track behind winner Wildcat Red and runner-up General a Rod. If Honor Code doesn’t make it to the Derby, Shug McGaughey will still be well-represented with this one.

8. Dance With Fate Trainer: Peter Eurton Owner: Alesia, Sharon, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC

The Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12th is the next target for this son of Two Step Salsa. While his best races have been on synthetic, he’s run well on dirt before so I don’t think surface will be an issue in the Derby.

9. Bayern Trainer: Bob Baffert Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Is this horse really legit, or did he just beat a small field of mediocres last time out? Unfortunately we must wait to have that question answered. The horse was scratched from the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park this weekend due to a bruised quarter. Hopefully, we hear from this horse sometime soon.

10. Honor Code Trainer: Claude McGaughey III Owner: Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm LLC

Like Shared Belief, I am really anxious to see how he runs when he makes his three-year-old debut. Unfortunately, the racing world will have to wait another weekend to see him run. He is scheduled to make his comeback in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 15th.