By Richard Rosenblatt
With just over 5/8ths of a mile to go in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park, Dennis’ Moment was finished running. A hot Kentucky Derby prospect coming into the only points qualifying prep over the weekend, the colt would finish last of 10 and this week drops out of the usracing.com/news Top 10 list of Derby contenders.
Trainer Dale Romans was perplexed the morning after the race, saying tests were conducted and Dennis’ Moment appeared to be OK. He said it’s puzzling, but he’s not about to give up on a horse he’s been touting as his best chance to win his first Derby.
While Dennis’ Moment is off the Derby radar for the time being, Ete Indien appears in the Top 10 at No. 5 after an impressive gate-to-wire, 8 ½-length win in the 1 1/16th-mile Fountain of Youth.
In his previous race, Ete Indian took the early lead in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream, but was unable to hold off Tiz the Law and finished second, three lengths back.
Tiz the Law, who remains No. 2 in this week’s Top 10, is scheduled to run next in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 28, with Ete Indien likely to be in the field.
“I’m going to be honest with you, he’s impressing me every day when he trains since I’ve had him,” Ete Indien trainer Patrick Biancone, who also conditions Derby contender Sole Volante, said Sunday (March 1). “Yesterday, he had a difficult task. We got a bad draw (outside No. 10 post) but everything did go well.”
Shotski finished fourth in the Fountain of Youth, and also dropped out of the Top 10.
Five-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert now has a trio of 3-year-olds in the Top 10, with unbeaten Nadal making the list at No. 8.
Southwest (G3) winner Silver Prospector stays at No. 1 as he continues to train for the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 14.
A few other notable changes on the rugged Derby trail took place over the weekend, including Risen Star (G2) winner Mr. Monomoy being taken out of consideration due to a minor ankle injury.
This weekend promises a slew of changes with three Derby preps awarding 50-20-10-5 points to the first four finishers: the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita.
The Gotham looks to have a pretty full field, with Swale (G3) winner Mischevious Alex (trained by John Servis) among the probables, along with a pair from trainer Linda Rice – Montauk Traffic and First Deputy.
The Tampa Bay Derby will feature Biancone’s other top 3-year-old, Sole Volante, winner of the Sam F. Davis (G3) over this track. Among the challengers will be Chance It (a late scratch in the Fountain of Youth), Spa City and one or two maiden winners trained by Todd Pletcher.
In the San Felipe, probables include the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Robert B. Lewis winner Thousand Words and Sham winner Authentic. Also probable are Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and 2-year-old champion Storm the Court and impressive maiden winner Honor A.P.
Here’s my latest Top 10:
1. Silver Prospector (Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana, Jr.)
So far so good, for the gray son of Declaration of War, who hasn’t had a timed workout (as of March 2) since winning the Southwest on Feb. 17 … A key so far, is this colt has a win at Churchill Downs, topping No. 2 Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Jockey Club back on Nov. 30 … No. 6 on points leaderboard (21) … Next start: Rebel, Oaklawn Park, March 14 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 2-1 (mutuel field)
2. Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg, Manny Franco)
Worked 4 furlongs in 50.00 at Palm Meadows on March 2, eighth fastest of 20 at the distance … First work in three weeks. … Has the makings of a big star with wins in the Champagne at 2 and the Holy Bull on Feb. 1 … Owned by Sackatoga Stable of Derby/Preakness winner Funny Cide fame … No. 5 on
points leaderboard (22) … Next start: Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park, March 28 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 8-1.
3. Authentic (Bob Baffert, Drayden Van Dyke)
Sham winner by 7 ¾ lengths over stablemate Azul Coast on Jan. 4 makes him 2-for-2 … Worked 6 furlongs in 1:12.80 at Santa Anita on Feb. 24 … No. 23 on points leaderboard (10) … Next start: San Felipe, Santa Anita, Saturday … Derby Future Wager Odds: 15-1.
4. Thousand Words (Bob Baffert, Flavien Prat)
Potential to become big star with wins already in Los Alamitos Futurity and the Robert B. Lewis in his 3-year-old debut (he’s 3-for-3) … Worked 7 furlongs in 1:26.80 at Santa Anita on Feb. 28 … No. 7 on points leaderboard (20) … Next start: San Felipe, Santa Anita, Saturday … Derby Future Wager Odds: 16-1.
5. Ete Indien (Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux)
That was some eye-popping win in Fountain of Youth! Broke first from outside and romped by 8 ½ lengths … Biancone looking to get back in Derby for first time in 15 years … Owners: Biancone, Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable, Horse France America, and D P Racing … Pedigree: Summer Front-East India, by Mizzen Mast … No. 1 on points leaderboard (54) … Next start: Florida Derby, Gulfstream, March 28 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 2-1 (mutuel field)
6. Enforceable (Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux)
Second in first division of Risen Star and winner of Lecomte before that, Casse has himself a solid prospect a year after winning the Preakness (War of Will) and Belmont Stakes (Sir Winston) … Experienced with an 8-2-2-2 record … Since Risen Star, hasn’t had recorded workout as of March 2 … No. 3 on points leaderboard (33) … Next start: Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds, March 21 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 29-1.
7. Storm the Court (Peter Eurton, Joel Rosario)
Rosario takes over for Flavien Prat aboard the long shot BC Juvenile winner who finished fourth in San Vicente in 3-year-old debut … Worked 5 furlongs in 49.40 at Santa Anita on Feb. 29 … No. 4 on Derby points leaderboard
(22) … Next start: San Felipe, Santa Anita, Saturday … Derby Future Wager Odds: 50-1.
8. Nadal (Bob Baffert, Joel Rosario)
Yet another Baffert 3-year-old with a perfect record (2-2) after San Vicente win on Feb. 9 … May have no qualifying points, but one more big race and he’ll be Derby bound … Owners: George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman and Mark Mathiesen … Pedigree: Blame-Ascending Angel, by Pulpit … Next start: Rebel, Oaklawn, March 7 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 8-1.
9. Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux)
Two, yes two, Derby contenders for Biancone … Sam F. Davis winner is 3-for-4 and prepped for his next start with a 7-furlong turf work in 1:23.00 at Palm Meadows on Feb. 26 … Owners: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp. … Pedigree: Karakontie-Light Blow, by Kingmambo … No. 18 on points leaderboard (10) … Next start: Tampa Bay Derby, Tampa Bay Downs, Saturday … Derby Future Wager Odds: 2-1 (mutuel field).
10. Independence Hall (Mike Trombetta, Jose Ortiz)
The son of Constitution is 3-for-4, with runner-up finish to Sole Volante in Sam F. Davis … Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 on Feb. 29 at Tampa Bay Downs … No. 12 on points leaderboard (14) … Next start: Florida Derby, Gulfstream, March 28 … Derby Future Wager Odds: 19-1.