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Monday, March 11, 2013

Zenyatta John's Kentucky Derby Dozen #6


It's been an interesting two weeks on the Road to the Roses. We have seen prep races at many different tracks and on multiple surfaces. Some horses stamped themselves as future stars while others left us shaking our heads at what had transpired.

I have five new horses debuting on ZJ's Derby Dozen this week. I had to drop horses I was holding out hope for, and added some because of some strong performances that needed to be recognized.

The next 6 weeks will be very interesting as horses need points to get in the gate, and time is running out.

So here we go, ZJ's Derby Dozen #6

1. NORMANDY INVASION - just secured Javier Castellano for his engagement in the Wood Memorial. He needs to be first or second to earn his trip to Louisville. Working well since his flop in 3 yr old debut.

2. REVOLUTIONARY - Javy rides this one too who shipped to Florida after his Withers victory to prepare for the Louisiana Derby. Son of Alabama winner Runup the Colors continues to train well.

3. ORB - can still picture his strong stride winning the Fountain of Youth. In good hands and training well for the Florida Derby.

4. ITSMYLUCKYDAY - just worked a strong mile last weekend over the deep Calder surface, on schedule for his return in the Florida Derby for Eddie Plesa.

5. TIZ THE TRUTH - is back to work after a quarter crack caused him to miss some time. Is scheduled to ship East for the Wood Memorial bringing his Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens with him.

6. VERRAZANO - still not a believer, partially because of his breeding, and partially because he's trained by Todd Pletcher. He overcame some trouble to win the Tampa Bay Derby Saturday and won easy as could be. Will have one more race before arriving in Kentucky.

7. RYDILLUC - (new) - this smooth striding son of Medaglia d'Oro was super impressive winning his third in a row taking the grassy Palm Beach. He was rumored to be Gary Contessa's best baby in a long time last summer during Saratoga and he is now living up to the expectations. His pedigree is pure dirt and I am willing to toss his dirt debut as a learning experience. The Blue Grass stakes is next for him where he will need to finish 1st or 2nd to grab enough points to continue on the road.

8. FLASHBACK - drops slightly on the list after a ridiculous race under Julian Leparoux in the San Felipe Saturday. He needs seasoning and he got it there rushing up around the first turn to engage a 30/1 shot while Goldencents was gunned between them causing a speed duel that only benefited the closers. It seemed his jockey thought the race was over and was not extending him late as he got passed by Hear the Ghost to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It's rumored that Rafael Bejareno has already secured the ride when Flashback returns.

9. VYJACK - (new) - haven't been a believer until his explosive Gotham victory. Joel Rosario got aboard for the first time and rated him perfectly. He exploded around the turn and passed the entire field like they were tied to a post. His pedigree and trainer are the big question marks shooting for racing's biggest prize.

10. TIZ A MINISTER - (new) - with Cee's Tizzy and Hollywood Wildcat in his 2nd generation, this California horse has some powerful blood on his side. He made quite a visually impressive run from 15+ lengths out of the San Felipe Saturday. He hopelessly trailed the field for the first 6 furlongs they started picking them up. Coming off the far turn he had drawn even with the field with only the two speed to catch. Hear the Ghost switched leads and ran with him to the wire providing an exciting finish. He was beaten about one length for the whole thing. His big late run will need to get him home 1st in the SA Derby for him to get to KY.

11. HEAR THE GHOST - (new) - this gorgeous son of Ghostzapper stretched out to two turn for the first time in the San Felipe and made the most of it. He took advantage of the speed duel and got to the wire first in only his 3rd start of his career. Until he was emboldened by Tiz a Minister, he looked to be spinning his wheels, but the challenge of that rival brought out the fight in him. Development is certainly still expected.

12. SUPER NINETY NINE - (new) - I finally gave in and included this one too. After Cal clockers raved about his workout over the weekend I had to put my stubbornness aside. He just might be developing at the right time for Baffert. The Rebel is next on his agenda. He bumped one of his rivals Treasury Bill of the list so if that one wins the Rebel, Super Ninety Nine's stay will be short.

There it is, Zenyatta John Derby Dozen #6 in the books.

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