05/01/2003 11:00PM

Derby runner profile: Ten Most Wanted

Email

STRENGTHS: Aside from having a different running style, Ten Most Wanted looks like a mirror image of War Emblem, the 2002 Derby winner. He won the Illinois Derby in a romp, and sharp works in recent weeks indicate he is peaking at Derby time.

The 110 Beyer Speed Figure he earned in winning the Illinois Derby is the co-second-highest figure posted by a Kentucky Derby entrant. Only favored Empire Maker has run faster. Empire Maker earned a 111 Beyer winning the Wood Memorial, and Funny Cide, the runner-up, received a 110 for his narrow loss in that race.

Additionally, Ten Most Wanted should relish the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles. He has a 3.00 Dosage Index, and his sire, Deputy Commander, won the Travers and Super Derby at 1 1/4 miles in 1997. Ten Most Wanted seemed to be crying out for more ground in the Illinois Derby, and if he settles in the early stages of the Derby, the classic distance should be within his scope.

WEAKNESSES: He is a candidate to bounce. When he won the Illinois Derby, he improved 18 Beyer points upon his previous high figure. Such dramatic improvement can lead to regression. The other issue with Ten Most Wanted is class. He was beaten by Ocean Terrace and Ministers Wild Cat in the El Camino Real Derby. Neither of those horses even made the Derby. Those he defeated in the Illinois Derby were considered a cut below the nation's best 3-year-olds.

STRATEGY: Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Pat Day will try to get him to relax, as he did successfully in the Illinois Derby. When Ten Most Wanted is too aggressive early, his closing kick suffers.

VALUE: If you like Ten Most Wanted, you aren't alone. Many handicappers searching to try to beat favored Empire Maker have chosen him as an alternative. He may start second choice in the race, likely at odds of between 6-1 and 8-1.

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Ten Most Wanted and Derby runner Brancusi are from sire Deputy Commander's impressive first crop, which also includes Kentucky Oaks hopeful Holiday Lady. Deputy Commander blossomed in the summer of his 3-year-old season, winning the Travers Stakes and Super Derby, both at 1 1/4 miles. Deputy Commander's sire, Deputy Minister, was Horse of the Year in Canada and a champion at 2 in the United States. He has been among the upper echelon of stallions, and his best offspring include Open Mind, Go for Wand, Touch Gold, and Awesome Again, all of whom relished 1 1/4 miles. This is the Northern Dancer sire line.

FEMALE FAMILY: If you are looking for racing class, look no further than this female line. Wanted Again was winless in four starts, but when your fifth dam is La Troienne, unquestionably the greatest female influence in the history of racing, you automatically become a coveted broodmare. Wanted Again is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Cutlass Reality. Bail Out Becky and More Than Ready are recent stakes winners from this exceptional family.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Deputy Commander and broodmare sire Criminal Type are both sources of stamina - that combined with the high class of his female family indicates Ten Most Wanted is bred to relish 1 1/4 miles.

- Pedigree profile by Lauren Stich