01/15/2007 1:00AM

N.Y.'s top Derby prospect didn't run in Count Fleet



It's that time of the year when 3-year-olds around the country with Kentucky Derby aspirations start to sort themselves out. In New York, Pink Viper, Johannesburg Star, Sir Whimsey, and No Reply finished in that order in the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan. 6.

Pink Viper, a half-brother to Flashy Bull by speed influence Smoke Glacken, is not a Derby threat. Johannesburg Star, from the very promising first crop of champion juvenile Johannesburg (Hennessy), ran gamely to be second as the 6-5 favorite, and while runners by Johannesburg may get middle distances, they will ultimately prove to be best on turf. Sir Whimsey is from the first crop of Jump Start (A.P. Indy) and should do well at longer distances. No Reply is by Deputy Commander, whose offspring are notoriously late-maturing runners. He should definitely improve as the year rolls on.

But all these New York-based 3-year-olds have an uphill battle ahead if Summer Doldrums, who captured an optional claiming event on Jan. 12 in a very commanding performance, sticks around for the New York series of stakes for 3-year-olds in the coming weeks.

Summer Doldrums is from the first outstanding crop of Street Cry, who edged ahead of Johannesburg in the final weeks of 2006 to be last year's leading freshman stallion. Probable 2-year-old champion colt Street Sense is Street Cry's top earner. Summer Doldrums, like most of Street Cry's runners, is bred to appreciate 1 1/4 miles. In addition to inheriting a fair amount of stamina from Street Cry, Summer Doldrums is out of an Unaccounted For mare, and there is plenty of class in this pedigree. His female family produced the highly successful sire Crafty Prospector, and he also has the RF (Rasmussen Factor) as he is inbred 5x5 to the influential broodmare Natalma through her son Northern Dancer and daughter Raise the Standard. This is an improving colt with a world of upside.

* Malabar Gold was a wickedly fast son of Unbridled, and his first crop of runners, now 3, include Golden Dreamer, a filly who won the six-furlong Ruthless on Jan. 7 by 3 3/4 lengths in a quick 1:10.26. Golden Dreamer gets additional high speed from damsire Indian Charlie and second damsire Polish Numbers.

Fair Grounds

Total dazzled in the Letellier Memorial Handicap on Jan. 1 by 6 3/4 lengths, but the Claiborne Farm homebred, who is co-owned by Adele Dilschneider, is by high-speed influence Forest Wildcat and is strictly bred to be a top sprinter. Total is out of a classy Claiborne Farm female family that produced Nureyev, Sadler's Wells, and Moccasin.

* I Believe in Me, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, followed his maiden victory on dirt at Churchill Downs with a win in an allowance on grass at about 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 4. While Giant's Causeway's offspring win on dirt, runners by Giant's Causeway are far more comfortable on turf.


Vanquisher, a 3-year-old colt by Gulch, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on the grass on Jan. 3 to become the latest promising turf runner for Bill Mott. Vanquisher has a HT2 pedigree, as he is out of hidden turf sire Gulch, and out of a Storm Cat mare. His second dam is by Halo and his third dam is by Nijinsky II. Vanquisher descends from the family that produced Awesome Again and Macho Uno.

* Nalanda, a 3-year-old granddaughter of Gulch, also won on the turf on Jan. 5. Nalanda, by Thunder Gulch, is out of the Pleasant Tap mare Naropa, and her third dam is a half-sister to champion Easy Goer.

* It's not just the 3-year-old colts who are winning for Nick Zito. Silver Knockers, a 3-year-old filly by Silver Deputy making her career debut, got off to an awkward start, but rallied to score a 3 1/2-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race on Jan. 7. With speed influence Silver Deputy on top and out of a Two Punch mare, Silver Knockers is bred to be most effective as a sprinter-miler.

Santa Anita

Barynya, a 4-year-old filly by Broad Brush, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race for Bobby Frankel on Jan. 5. The late-blooming filly is a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi. Barynya is a dual threat as she is bred for dirt and turf.

* Toll Road, a 3-year-old filly who scored a seven-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race on Jan. 6, comes from a historic female family. By stakes winner Mud Route, her third dam, Right About, is all Calumet Farm breeding. Right About, a foal of 1962, is by 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation and is out of Whirlright, a full sister to 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway.

* Rags to Riches is a filly to keep an eye on. Winner of a seven-furlong maiden race by six lengths on Jan. 7, she is a half-sister to last year's Belmont Stakes winner, Jazil. By A.P. Indy and out of the classy Deputy Minister mare Better Than Honour, the sky's the limit for this young filly.

* E Z Warrior returned from a six-month layoff as good as ever, winning the San Miguel Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 7. Before jumping on his bandwagon for the Triple Crown, however, note that the Hollywood Juvenile Championship winner is another speedy colt who is very questionable beyond 1 1/8 miles.