02/12/2014 1:29PM

Kentucky Derby: Who's hot, who's not for Feb. 12, 2014

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Barbara D. Livingston
Top Billing stamped himself as a Kentucky Derby contender with a 2 3/4-length allowance score at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

Who’s hot

Shug McGaughey, who trained 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, has two highly ranked horses in this year’s inaugural Derby Watch top 20, Honor Code and Top Billing, the co-second choices at 6-1 on the future line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form ’s national handicapper. Keep in mind that the line is set based solely on the 20 horses currently on the list; Cairo Prince is favored at 5-1. Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, and John Sadler are the other trainers with multiple runners in the top 20.

Who’s not

Some of the highly regarded 2-year-olds from last year have been retired (New Year’s Day) or had training setbacks (Havana and Shared Belief). Top prospects who disappointed in their most recent starts, such as Gold Hawk and Wicked Strong, failed to make the cut, though both will get chances to vault onto the list in upcoming preps.

On the bubble

Shared Belief would be at or near the top of the list had everything gone smoothly this winter, and if he happens to progress very quickly once he begins working, he’d be the leading candidate for inclusion. There are many others who have shown promise and will step in if they run well in their next starts, or if one of the current members of the top 20 falters. That list includes, but is not limited to, Albano, Almost Famous, Bayern, Chitu, Constitution, General a Rod, Hartford, Intense Holiday, Hoppertunity, In Trouble, Mexikoma, Surfing U S A, Tanzanite Cat, Tap It Rich, Tonalist, Wicked Strong, and Wildcat Red.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Patrick J. Gianforte More than 1 year ago
Does anybody know what the handle was for the Kentucky Derby Future Pool #1? I don't know why they don't severely reduce or totally eliminate the take out. If they did, they would probably get 100 times the play it currently gets. Worst case for them, their take out is the 4 horses that don't make the field. Most years 12-15 of Pool #1 horses don't make the Derby! Why cant they have any foresight(or less greed) to make themselves more money. I always say what would you rather have, 100% of nearly nothing, or 25% of a whole lot of CASH?? They obviously want 100% of very little. Its a great concept but such a poor bet!
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
You guys are right on. That's why the article is duty free and not on the DRF PLUS. All it does is remind us there is a Ky Derby coming soon.
StockPicker More than 1 year ago
Jay please go back to sleep because you just put me to sleep with this article.
Rob Yetman More than 1 year ago
This article lacks any meaningful facts. It has more fluff then the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
Lawrence More than 1 year ago
That's why it's free.