02/15/2017 2:10PM

Kentucky Derby: Who's hot, who's not for Feb. 17, 2017

Barbara D. Livingston
Irish War Cry assured himself a spot on the Derby Watch top 20 by winning the Holy Bull Stakes.


Kentucky Derby-winning trainers Bob Baffert (American Anthem and Mastery), John Shirreffs (Gormley and Royal Mo), and Todd Pletcher (Always Dreaming, Battalion Runner, and Tapwrit) all have multiple runners on the top 20 list. Other Derby-winning trainers who have a runner on the list are Graham Motion (Irish War Cry) and Doug O’Neill (Iliad).

:: DERBY WATCH: Top 20 list | Derby Watch: Classic Empire remains on top


The Derby Watch executive committee had a tentative list made one week ago, prior to the Sam Davis Stakes. No Dozing was on the list before the race. After finishing a dull sixth, he was dropped. Battle of Midway also was a tentative selection before he finished third in the San Vicente.


If the connections of the filly Unique Bella change their minds and decide to go to the Derby, she’d obviously go on the list, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May is her target. Among those just missing the cut this week were State of Honor and Untrapped. There are two scoring races in the United States this weekend – the El Camino Real Derby on Saturday and the Southwest Stakes on Monday – and while the El Camino Real Derby didn’t appear as if it would come up strong, the Southwest was expected to include Smarty Jones runner-up Petrov, who would forge his way onto the list with a victory.

But the most significant race may be taking place Sunday at Tokyo Race Course, where the 1,600-meter Hyacinth will be run. Churchill Downs is seeking to get a Japanese-based runner into the Derby – which would enable Churchill Downs to offer simulcast wagering on the race in Japan – and thus has carved out 50 points for the winner of the Hyacinth. That would be enough to secure a starting spot in the Derby.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays, and analysis

Sheryl Meyers 8 months ago
A dream come true if I could go to The Kentucky Derby 
fishermancw 8 months ago
I've been to at least ten of them. It should definitely be on your Bucket List. If you go to the infield you won't see a horse all day. 
Jim Fields 8 months ago
This is a tough year to come up with a favorite The Irish horse looked great, but an abcess could stop, or did stop Seattle Slew once or Empire, so got to look at one more race before pickin the one whose bandwagon I'll ride on.  Nobody else looks like a standout.  Two California based horses could jump in the way of any bandwagon in the near future. 
Karl Deppen 8 months ago
I'm hoping and praying that this is the year for a Curlin product-----Go, Go, Go Irish War Cry !!!!!
Karl Deppen 8 months ago
I sincerely hope that the connections of Unique Bella do not change their minds. If this filly is that good, the place for her is the Oaks, than on to a smaller field in the Preakness. Turn back the page to R.A.'s history. It worked out fine for her !!! 
Beachbasil1 8 months ago
Carla it says above article was written before Sam Davis stakes
Tom Fleming 8 months ago
It doesn't say that the above article was written before the Sam Davis stakes. It says the Derby watch executive committee had a tentative list made one week ago, prior to the Sam Davis Stakes. It states that No Dozing was on the list, yet was dropped for his disappointing 6th place finish. The actual article you have read was written 2/15/17 @ 1:10 PM.
Beachbasil1 8 months ago
You are correct I read it at the brink of sleep
Carla Parrillo 8 months ago
Where is Mckracken?  I thought he has been excelling in every race right up to this week.