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Monday, December 15, 2014

ZJ's 2015 Derby Dozen #1


As we turn the corner into the 2015 season, the Derby chatter will begin in earnest. I normally pride myself with uncovering a top Derby selection that will send most to the replays to get their first glimpse of the unknown challenger. This year, it seems slightly less exciting as I haven't pinpointed any underdogs worthy of my top 5. We saw some very good runners in the last third of 2014 that won or placed in stakes races that should move forward and project nicely into their 3 yr old seasons.

So here we go - ZJ's Derby Dozen #1

1. AMERICAN PHAROAH - This son of Pioneerof the Nile put in the best final workout of all the BC workers but unfortunately was withdrawn and didn't get the chance to compete. With the typical 'growing up and filling out' expected over the winter, we anxiously await an even better AP.

2. TEXAS RED - This son of Afleet Alex made the most of AP's absence in the BC Juvy, but he may have won that day regardless who would have lined up. I never saw this effort coming, was in complete shock as he "Arazi'd" them, catapulting himself past the field opening up with every stride. If he can somehow reproduce that run on the 1st Saturday in May, look out.

3. DORTMUND - This gigantic son of Big Brown has been uber impressive in his two starts so far and races this weekend at Los Alamitos going two turns. If he has more to give, he will be a mighty challenge for all to run down. Lets see what he can do.

4. FROSTED - the 1st son of Tapit to debut on the Dozen is a real runner for Kiaran Mclaughlin. He got beat by a stakes horse in his debut and has steadily gotten better with every start. He will spice up the Florida races for sure.

5. CARPE DIEM - the 1st Pletcher runner to crash my party, this son of Giants Causeway was electric winning his prep for the BC Juvy then ran into some traffic saving 2nd but had no chance to get the winner. Looking forward to seeing his return/

6. EAGLE - This Neil Howard trained son of Candy Ride out of a Mineshaft mare has really put things together as the distances got longer. He got caught on the rail in last and settled for third, but may have been best with a clean trip. He is the one who may vault a few places up the list with a great return race in 2015.

7. EL KABEIR - This sizzling son of Scat Daddy is just starting to figure it all out for John Terranova and the Zayat Stable. He will flaunt his speed in the early prep races crushing the dreams of the lesser. Just no Mike Smith please, Bodemeister would surely agree.

8. UPSTART - This nice son of Flatter has showed nice ability for Rick Violette progressing nicely all fall. He should start his 2015 season in south Florida.

9. SPRING QUALITY - This son of Quality Road was electric sweeping to victory in his maiden race, showing me a powerful stride that equates to distance and Derby. He's been on the shelf for Graham Motion since, he could be any kind upon his return. I originally wanted to make him my #1, but just couldn't stretch it that far. But, write this horse down, he's gonna be real good.

10. OCHO OCHO OCHO - This speedy son of Street Sense is now three for three after whipping up on them in the Delta Jackpot. There is more to him than meet the eye. His dam is from one of the foundation families in the game, a Phipps bred from the family of Personal Ensign. To say the sky is the limit might actually put limits on this guy.

11. GORGEOUS BIRD - This son of Unbridled's Song from a Whitney family mare was one of the most impressive winners of the fall. Very much want to see him move forward and when he does, will climb this list rapidly.

12. COMPETITIVE EDGE - This son of Super Saver was an emphatic winner of both starts at Saratoga in 2014 stamping himself as a budding star. He is back in training and can't wait to see him race against some of those late season stakes winners.

13. IMPERIA - This son of Medaglia d'Oro ran in his 1st dirt event last time and proved himself a worthy Derby competitor. His dam was a G1 route winner on dirt so the only way to go is up with this big boy.

19. MR Z

So there we go, the 1st Derby Dozen of the 2015 season. Get on the trail!

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