The Derby 20 Presented By Adequan: Rebel Shakeup Puts War Of Will On Top

A pair of undefeated colts suffered their first losses in Saturday’s dual editions of the G2 Rebel Stakes, and while neither Game Winner nor Improbable was defeated by more than a neck in their first start of 2019, I decided to give top ranking to a different Kentucky Derby contender.

War of Will has done nothing wrong since being transferred to the dirt, and he continues to learn and improve with each effort at the Fair Grounds. He’s consistent, he has the pedigree to run all day long, and his combination of speed and his ability to rate is a big advantage heading toward the Run for the Roses.

Where did your favorite horse end up on the list? Be sure to click on the expandable boxes for each Derby candidate to get all the latest information — in our first edition of The Derby 20!

War of Will
Connections

Owner: Gary Barber

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Limited

Pedigree

Sire: War Front

Dam: Visions of Clarity, by Sadler’s Wells

Sales Record: $298,550 2-year-old at Arqana Breeze-Up Sale

60
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-1-1 from seven starts, $491,569

Major Races: G1 Summer Stakes (2nd), G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (5th), G3 Lecomte Stakes (1st), G2 Risen Star Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start
G2 Louisiana Derby on March 23rd
1st
Paulick Report Ranking
Horses making their way to the first Saturday in May through Louisiana may not have the best record, but this colt has done nothing wrong since Casse switched him to dirt. Every time he’s been asked for more, War of Will has stepped up and answered the call. The physically impressive colt has the brain to handle the big race craziness, and his significant amount of racing experience, especially against large fields, will be a major benefit.
Game Winner
Connections

Owner: Gary and Mary West

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Breeder: Summer Wind Equine

Pedigree

Sire: Candy Ride

Dam: Indyan Giving, by A.P. Indy

Sales Record: $110,000 yearling at Keeneland September

45
Derby Points

Race Record: 4-1-0 from five starts, $1,646,000 

Major Races: G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (1st), G1 American Pharoah Stakes (1st), G1 Del Mar Futurity (1st), G2 Rebel Stakes (2nd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6th

2nd
Paulick Report Ranking

There’s no argument that Game Winner is a talented colt, but he had every opportunity to pass Omaha Beach in the stretch run of Saturday’s G2 Rebel and couldn’t get it done. Yes, it was his first start in several months, but Baffert is very well known for having his horses ready off the layoff. That said, I’m giving the Hall of Famer the benefit of the doubt with this horse for now, because the interrupted training in Southern California could have left Game Winner a nose short. 

Code Of Honor
Connections

Owner: W.S. Farish

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Jockey: John Velazquez

Breeder: W.S. Farish

Pedigree

Sire: Noble Mission

Dam: Reunited, by Dixie Union

Sales Record: $70,000 RNA at Keeneland September Yearling Sale

54
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-0 from four starts, $384,820

Major Races: G1 Champagne Stakes (2nd), G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Florida Derby on March 30

3rd
Paulick Report Ranking

The Hall of Fame trainer has taken this route to the Kentucky Derby (Orb in 2013), and I love the fact that he is talking about how well the colt has taken to an increased training regimen. Code of Honor has a throwback-type lean frame that should carry him over the 1 1/4-mile challenge, and his demonstrated ability to rate is a serious advantage.

Omaha Beach
Connections

Owner: Fox Hill Farms

Trainer: Richard Mandella

Jockey: Mike Smith

Breeder: Charming Syndicate

Pedigree

Sire: War Front

Dam: Charming, by Seeking the Gold

Sales Record: $625,000 RNA at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale

37.5
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-3-1 from six starts, $521,800

Major Races: G2 Rebel Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Arkansas Derby on April 13

4th
Paulick Report Ranking

How impressive is it for a colt to jump from maiden ranks to a performance like his gutsy Rebel win over Game Winner? I put Game Winner ahead of him because he’s likely to move forward again, but Omaha Beach has all the right pieces. Additionally, the Mandella trainee’s grit and will to win could indicate the “lightbulb” phenomenon – now that he’s figured out how to hit the wire first, Omaha Beach will be doing it a lot more often.

Improbable
Connections

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and Starlight Racing

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Breeder: St. George Farm and G. Watts Humphrey

Pedigree

Sire: City Zip

Dam: Rare Event, by A.P. Indy

Sales Record: $410,000 weanling at Keeneland November

25
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-1-0 from four starts, $419,520

Major Races: Street Sense Stakes (1st), G1 Los Alamitos Futurity (1st), G2 Rebel (2nd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Arkansas Derby on April 13

5th
Paulick Report Ranking

Powerhouse connections and a supremely talented up-and-coming young jockey combine for a potent threat on the Triple Crown trail in the form of Improbable. He was run down in the Rebel, but may not have seen the late-running Long Range Toddy until it was too late. Improbable did dig back in when he saw his rival, it seems unlikely he’ll make the same mistake again. 

Bourbon War
Connections

Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Breeder: Conquest Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Tapit

Dam: My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller

Sales Record: $410,000 weanling at Keeneland November

21
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-0 from four starts, $155,100

Major Races: G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (2nd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Florida Derby on March 30

6th
Paulick Report Ranking

His big run in the Fountain of Youth made Bourbon War look like the kind who will appreciate extra distance, and the long stretch at Churchill Downs should play in his favor. Code of Honor was playing around a bit at the end of the race, so the late-flying run was a bit misleading after the early pace collapse, but even still Bourbon War should not be ignored.

Long Range Toddy
Connections

Owner: Willis Horton

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Jon Court

Breeder: Willis Horton

Pedigree

Sire: Take Charge Indy

Dam: Pleasant Song, by Unbridled’s Song

53.5
Derby Points

Race Record: 4-1-1 from seven starts, $851,125

Major Races: Clever Trevor Stakes (1st), Springboard Mile (1st), Smarty Jones Stakes (2nd), G3 Southwest Stakes (3rd), G2 Rebel Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Arkansas Derby on April 13

7th
Paulick Report Ranking

What an honest, hard-trying horse Asmussen has found in Long Range Toddy. The homebred shows up every time he leaves the starting gate, and if the Kentucky Derby were run right now I’d be using this horse underneath in all my exotics bets. The only reason he’s down to seventh on this list is the fact that he got a dream trip in the Rebel and capitalized from a very heady ride by veteran Jon Court. The 20-horse Derby field will make a repeat of that running path very unlikely.

Tacitus
Connections

Owner: Juddmonte Farm

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Breeder: Juddmonte Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Tapit

Dam: Close Hatches, by First Defence

50
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-0 from three starts, $253,000

Major Races: G2 Tampa Bay Derby (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Wood Memorial on April 6

8th
Paulick Report Ranking

Another well-bred colt putting the pieces together here for Bill Mott. Odds are he won’t be such an overlay in his next start, wherever Mott decides to send him, and the big, strong Tacitus may well be worthy of that adulation. It will be worth watching how Mott sorts out his full hand of Kentucky Derby contenders and whether this colt bounces off his record-setting finish.

Country House
Connections

Owner: Mrs. J. V. Shields, Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, Jr., and LNJ Foxwoods

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Luis Saez

Breeder: J. V. Shields, Jr.

Pedigree

Sire: Lookin at Lucky

Dam: Quake Lake, by War Chant

20
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-2-0 from four starts, $120,175

Major Races: G2 Tampa Bay Derby (1st)

Next Expected Start

G2 Louisiana Derby on March 23

9th
Paulick Report Ranking

I absolutely love this horse, but Mott has to teach him a lot of maturity in a short amount of time. Logic dictates that Country House will be a major player later in the 3-year-old season as he figures out the horse racing game.

Roadster
Connections

Owner: Speedway Stable LLC

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Breeder: Stone Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Quality Road

Dam: Ghost Dancing, by Silver Ghost

Sales Record: $525,000 yearling at the Keeneland September sale

0
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-1 from three starts, $106,200

Major Races: G1 Del Mar Futurity (3rd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6

10th
Paulick Report Ranking

A high spot on the list for a colt with no Derby points is warranted based on the fact that Baffert pinpointed Roadster as a top prospect to TMZ long before his first start. An allowance win on March 1 puts him back on the Triple Crown trail, and while he has just one chance to get the points he needs, Roadster’s 91 Beyer puts him in the mix.

Tax
Connections

Owner: R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch, and Corms Racing Stable

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Breeder: Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider

Pedigree

Sire: Arch

Dam: Toll, by Giant’s Causeway

12
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-1 from four starts, $186,300

Major Races: G2 Remsen Stakes (3rd), G3 Withers Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Wood Memorial on April 6

11th
Paulick Report Ranking

A former claimer, this gelding was impressive in the Withers because of his willingness to make his own hole at the rail and determined push to hit the wire first. A steady work pattern shows Tax ready to take another step forward in the Wood.

Haikal
Connections

Owner: Shadwell Stable

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Rajiv Maragh

Breeder: Shadwell Stable

Pedigree

Sire: Daaher

Dam: Sablah, by Distorted Humor

50
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-1-0 from four starts, $298,900

Major Races: Jimmy Winkfield Stakes (1st), G3 Gotham Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Wood Memorial on April 6

12th
Paulick Report Ranking

Good run in the Gotham and this colt has done nothing wrong, but he has yet to try two turns and he’ll need to show that ability is in his wheelhouse. Then again, his closing style won’t be a hindrance to stretching out if he continues on the Triple Crown trail.

Mind Control
Connections

Owner: Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable

Trainer: Greg Sacco

Jockey: John Velazquez

Breeder: Red Oak Stable

Pedigree

Sire: Stay Thirsty

Dam: Feel That Fire, by Lightnin n Thunder

30
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-2-0 from six starts, $383,400

Major Races: G3 Gotham Stakes (2nd), Jerome Stakes (1st), G1 Hopeful (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Wood Memorial on April 6

13th
Paulick Report Ranking

He was just caught late in the Gotham, and Mind Control seems to be training well for Sacco at Belmont Park. That said, he got sick last time he shipped all the way down to Churchill, when he ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and I’d be hesitant to bet on him in the Kentucky Derby without another trip out of town.

Vekoma
Connections

Owner: R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables

Trainer: George Weaver

Jockey: Manny Franco

Breeder: Alpha Delta Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Candy Ride

Dam: Mona de Momma, by Speightstown

Sales Record: $135,000 yearling at Keeneland September

10
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-1 from three starts, $188,850

Major Races: G3 Nashua Stakes (1st), G2 Fountain of Youth (3rd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Florida Derby on March 30

14th
Paulick Report Ranking

Vekoma’s run to finish third in the Fountain of Youth was more solid than the chart might show. He was intimidated by Code of Honor a bit in the last part of the far turn, but he battled back and was able to run down Hidden Scroll for the show. The lightly-raced colt has plenty of room to improve off that effort.

Harvey Wallbanger
Connections

Owner: Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Ackman, and Paul Braverman

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Breeder: Tony Holmes and Dr. & Mrs. Walter Zent

Pedigree

Sire: Congrats

Dam: Adorabell, by Distorted Humor

Sales Record: $50,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale

10
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-3-0 from five starts, $299,520

Major Races: G2 Holy Bull Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Florida Derby on March 30

15th
Paulick Report Ranking

Similar to Long Range Toddy in the Rebel, Harvey Wallbanger capitalized on a perfect trip in the Holy Bull. He ran well enough, but will have to improve on the 85 Beyer figure he earned to be a factor in the Florida Derby. 

Mucho Gusto
Connections

Owner: Michael Lund Petersen

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Joe Talamo

Breeder: Teneri Farm Inc. & Bernardo Alvarez Calderon

Pedigree

Sire: Mucho Macho Man

Dam: Itsagiantcauseway, by Giant’s Causeway

Sales Record: $625,000 2-year-old at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale

14
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-1-0 from four starts, $234,000

Major Races: G3 Bob Hope Stakes (1st), G1 Los Alamitos Futurity (2nd), G3 Robert Lewis Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6

16th
Paulick Report Ranking

He’s done nearly everything that Baffert has asked of him, but the horses Mucho Gusto beat in his three stakes efforts haven’t returned to be terribly impressive. A 90 Beyer from the Bob Lewis Stakes was solid, but I need to see more before moving this horse up the list.

Instagrand
Connections

Owner: Larry Best

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Breeder: Stoneway Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Into Mischief

Dam: Assets of War, by Lawyer Ron

Sales Record: $1,200,000 2-year-old at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Select sale

10
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-1 from three starts, $180,000

Major Races: G2 Best Pal Stakes (1st), G3 Gotham Stakes (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Hollendorfer has not named a next start

17th
Paulick Report Ranking

This is a clearly talented colt, and Castellano was pleased with his effort in the Gotham off the long layoff. Instagrand will need to step forward from his 2-year-old form, however, and there are still a lot of questions to be answered, including whether Best will even consider running him in the Kentucky Derby.

Galilean
Connections

Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds, Denise Barker and William Sandbrook

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Breeder: Bar C Racing Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Uncle Mo

Dam: Fresia, by El Prado

Sales Record: $600,000 2-year-old at the Barretts Juvenile sale

7.5
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-1-1 from five starts, $336,000

Major Races: California Cup Derby (1st), G2 Rebel Stakes (3rd)

Next Expected Start

G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6 or the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 13

18th
Paulick Report Ranking

Beaten just 2 1/2 lengths in the Rebel, Galilean ran well enough to make it into the top 20 here. It was his first start racing outside of California, and Galilean may be able to improve on the 91 Beyer he earned on Saturday.

Somelikeithotbrown
Connections

Owner: Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable

Trainer: Mike Maker

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Breeder: Sand Dollar Stable and Hot Pink Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Big Brown

Dam: Marilyn Monroan, by Tapit

7.5
Derby Points

Race Record: 3-2-1 from seven starts, $363,478

Major Races: G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (3rd), G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks (1st)

Next Expected Start

G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 6

19th
Paulick Report Ranking

Somelikeithotbrown makes it onto this list primarily because of his ultra-impressive run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to finish third – ahead of top candidate War of Will. He’ll obviously need to transfer his form to the dirt course, but the colt’s confidence is high right now and the Blue Grass may come up a lighter field.

Hidden Scroll
Connections

Owner: Juddmonte Farm

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Breeder: Juddmonte Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Hard Spun

Dam: Sheba Queen, by Empire Maker

5
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-0-0 from two starts, $50,600

Major Races: G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (4th)

Next Expected Start

G1 Florida Derby on March 30

20th
Paulick Report Ranking

It’s impossible to deny that this horse is talented, but I have to penalize him because of his inability to slow down the pace in the Fountain of Youth. Hidden Scroll set sprinter fractions in the early stages of the race, and was able to hang on for fourth, but he’ll need to learn to relax if he wants to have any chance at the Roses. Luckily, he has Hall of Fame trainer Mott in his corner, which is why he still makes the Top 20 list.

The post The Derby 20 Presented By Adequan: Rebel Shakeup Puts War Of Will On Top appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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