04/04/2012 2:11PM

Kentucky Derby 2012: Who's Hot, Who's Not for April 4


Daddy Long Legs and Wrote, the first- and third-place finishers in the United Arab Emirates Derby, are the newcomers to this week’s Derby Watch top 20. Neither was certain to come to the Kentucky Derby until their performances in the UAE Derby. But their strong efforts there, and – most importantly – their lofty positions on the graded stakes earnings list, puts them in the Derby field. Daddy Long Legs is 25-1 on the Kentucky Derby future line of Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Watchmaker has Wrote at 30-1. Take Charge Indy, 40-1 last week, is down to 15-1 on Watchmaker’s line following his victory in the Florida Derby.

This was the toughest call made in the 14 years Watchmaker and I have been doing Derby Watch. Room needed to be made for Daddy Long Legs and Wrote, so two horses needed to be bumped. But who? As with Watergate, the decision was made to follow the money, and have the top 20 adhere to the graded stakes earnings list. Because of that, Bodemeister was demoted, as was Howe Great. Both will have a chance to get back on the list when they race in, respectively, the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes on April 14. But, for now, their earnings have them on the outside. All options were discussed. None was satisfactory. This seemed the fairest way to do it.

Obviously, Bodemeister and Howe Great are at the forefront of this category. Reveron, second in the Florida Derby, and Rousing Sermon, third in the Louisiana Derby, are right there, too. With lucrative prizes this Saturday in the Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Illinois Derby, there could be plenty of adjustment to the graded stakes earnings list, and, in turn, the top 20, next week.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 contenders | Baffert back to work with three for Santa Anita Derby]