The Derby 20 Presented By NYRA Bets: Decisions, Decisions

Less than two weeks from the 2020 Kentucky Derby, and while we’ve learned that fans won’t be in the stands, connections have been working hard to finalize their plans for this year’s contenders.

The list of 20 contenders below appears to be the total number of expected entrants for the Run for the Roses, and includes, for the first time since the introduction of the Derby points system in 2013, a horse with no points at all. That’s Shirl’s Speight, a Charles Fipke homebred undefeated in two starts in Canada for trainer Roger Attfield. He’s a talented colt by Speightstown and gets Corey Lanerie in the saddle, bringing a little more intrigue to this year of the unexpected.

The only jockey left to be decided is that of Rushie, the Michael McCarthy trainee expected to ship to Louisville from California on Tuesday.

Updates to this list will be made as contenders go through their final workouts over the next week, potentially moving a few horses up or down for the final Paulick Report rankings.

The updated points leaderboard is available here: Derby Oaks Leaderboard

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

Tiz the Law
Connections

Owner: Sackatoga Stable

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Jockey: Manny Franco

Breeder: Twin Creeks Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Constitution

Dam: Tizfiz, by Tiznow

Sales Record: $110,000 yearling at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred Sale

372
Derby Points

Race record: 6-0-1 from seven starts, $2,015,300

Major races: G1 Travers (1st), G1 Belmont (1st), G1 Florida Derby (1st), G3 Holy Bull (1st), G2 Kentucky Jockey Club (3rd), G1 Champagne (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

1st
Paulick Report Ranking

He’s the Belmont Stakes winner, the Travers winner, he’s undefeated in 2020, and he looks like a model of consistency for trainer Barclay Tagg. It’s hard to bet against Tiz the Law, a colt whose running style makes him hard to beat. The Travers was impressive, and that 109 Beyer is miles above what any other 3-year-old has done this year. All that considered, his one race at Churchill Downs was a bit of a flop, and Tiz the Law seems to need to be kept in the clear on the outside to do his best running. If we get anything near a full gate of 20 horses, that could pose a problem, especially if he draws near the inside. The colt also hasn’t been seriously tested this year, so it remains to be seen if he’ll have the heart to win a battle to the wire. Of course, he may not need it; Tiz the Law hasn’t been tested because no other horse has been able to run with him.

Honor A. P.
Connections

Owner: C R K Stable

Trainer: John Shirreffs

Jockey: Mike Smith

Breeder: George Krikorian

Pedigree

Sire: Honor Code

Dam: Hollywood Story, by Wild Rush

Sales Record: $850,000 yearling at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select sale

140
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-3-0 from five starts, $382,200

Major Races: Shared Belief Stakes (2nd), G1 Santa Anita Derby (1st), G2 San Felipe (2nd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

2nd
Paulick Report Ranking

This big, beautiful colt has all the talent to get the job done on the first Saturday in September, but he’s a little bit lighter on experience than some of his rivals. The loss in the Shared Belief shouldn’t affect him long-term; it was an oddly-run race and the distance was a bit short for Honor A. P. to show his best. That said, Shirreffs can be sure to have Honor A. P. ready to give his best effort next out, and with “Big Money” Mike Smith in the saddle his chances to visit that hallowed winner’s circle at Churchill Downs are that much better.

Art Collector
Connections

Owner/Breeder: Bruce Lunsford

Trainer: Tommy Drury

Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Pedigree

Sire: Bernardini

Dam: Distorted Legacy, by Distorted Humor

Sales Record: (homebred)

150
Derby Points

Race Record: 5-1-0 from nine starts, $664,380

Major Races: Ellis Park Derby (1st), G2 Blue Grass Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

3rd
Paulick Report Ranking

After an impressive win in the Blue Grass, this colt did exactly what he needed to do in the Ellis Park Derby. Jockey Brian Hernadez gave him just enough of a workout in the final eighth of a mile, and while his 100 Beyer at Ellis may have been a bit of a regression from his 103 in the Blue Grass, Art Collector showed he can both handle early pressure and be tractable. He’ll have to take another step forward to beat Tiz the Law and Honor A. P., but the colt has shown he’s certainly capable of doing so. On a side note, it’s hard not to root for this trainer and jockey, both of whom are underrated and getting a legitimate shot at the big dance.

King Guillermo
Connections

Owner: Victor Avila (Victoria’s Ranch)

Trainer: Juan Carlos Avila

Jockey: Samy Camacho

Breeder: Carhue Investments, Grouseridge Ltd. & Marengo Investments

Pedigree

Sire: Uncle Mo

Dam: Slow Sand, by Dixieland Band

Sales Record: $150,000 at the OBS April sale

90
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-1 from five starts, $340,350

Major Races: G1 Arkansas Derby (2nd), G2 Tampa Bay Derby (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

4th
Paulick Report Ranking

It was unclear how talented this colt might be after his Tampa Bay Derby victory, but his second-place finish to Nadal in the Arkansas Derby was impressive. The long layoff from May to September could be a concern, but he’s a lightly-made animal so there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t benefit him. King Guillermo has been at Churchill Downs for weeks getting used to the surface, and it looks like he’ll be a major contender.

Caracaro
Connections

Owner: Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing, LLC

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Breeder: SF Bloodstock

Pedigree

Sire: Uncle Mo

Dam: Peace Time, by War Front

Sales Record: $95,000 weanling at Keeneland November

60
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-3-0 from four starts, $238,800

Major Races: G1 Travers Stakes (2nd), G3 Peter Pan Stakes (2nd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

5th
Paulick Report Ranking

This lightly-raced colt ran a big race in the Peter Pan, especially first time against winners, and took another big step forward in the Travers. He’s got all the reason in the world to move up again in the Derby, his third start off the layoff. Caracaro may have been soundly defeated by Tiz the Law, but the late-developing colt ran a solid race and earned his spot in the Run for the Roses. With Hall of Famer Javier Castellano keeping the mount, Caracaro is even more likely to be capable of an upset.

Ny Traffic
Connections

Owner: John Fanelli, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing and Paul Braverman

Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Breeder: Brian Culnan

Pedigree

Sire: Cross Traffic

Dam: Maime Reilly, by Graeme Hall

Sales Record: $27,000 RNA at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old in training sale

110
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-3-2 from nine starts, $565,470

Major Races: G1 Haskell Stakes (2nd), G3 Matt Winn (2nd), G2 Louisiana Derby (2nd), G2 Risen Star (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

6th
Paulick Report Ranking

Progressive colt showed up in a big way in the Haskell, and looked like he’d handle the extra distance of the Kentucky Derby with ease. Ny Traffic has had a good deal of racing experience, and is taking a step forward with each race. He’s tactical and gritty, so he should be able to make some noise on the first Saturday in September. 

Thousand Words
Connections

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Breeder: Hardacre Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Pioneerof the Nile

Dam: Pomeroy’s Pistol, by Pomeroy

Sales Record: $1,000,000 yearling at Keeneland September sale

83
Derby Points

Race Record: 4-1-0 from seven starts, $327,000

Major Races: Shared Belief Stakes (1st), G3 Los Alamitos Derby (2nd), G3 Bob Lewis Stakes (1st), G2 Los Alamitos Futurity (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

7th
Paulick Report Ranking

Most analysts had understandably written off this colt after a couple of sub-par performances, but after watching his workout in company with Cezanne, it was easy to see that he’d found a new groove. After the Shared Belief win, Baffert explained that Thousand Words had gotten a bit sour, but the Hall of Fame trainer seems to have gotten a better idea of what makes this colt tick. Another one to keep a close eye on in the mornings leading up to the Run for the Roses.

Authentic
Connections

Owner: Spendthrift Farm, MyRacehorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, and Starlight Racing

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: John Velazquez

Breeder: Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC

Pedigree

Sire: Into Mischief

Dam: Flawless, by Mr. Greeley

Sales Record: $350,000 yearling at Keeneland September sale

200
Derby Points

Race Record: 4-1-0 from five starts, $1,011,200

Major Races: G1 Haskell Stakes (1st), G1 Santa Anita Derby (2nd), G2 San Felipe (1st), G3 Sham Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

8th
Paulick Report Ranking

I sincerely doubt this colt wants a mile and a quarter, but I doubted him in the Haskell over nine furlongs too. He’s got heart, and he’s got the tactical speed to be dangerous, but I can’t seem him winning the Kentucky Derby. Mike Smith, his regular rider, seems likely to pick Honor A. P. over Authentic for the first Saturday in September.

Sole Volante
Connections

Owner: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Jockey: Luca Panici

Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Limited

Pedigree

Sire: Karakontie

Dam: Light Blow, by Kingmambo

Sales Record: $20,000 2-year-old at OBS April sale

30
Derby Points

Race Record: 4-1-1 from seven starts, $323,310

Major Races: G2 Tampa Bay Derby (2nd), G3 Sam Davis (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

9th
Paulick Report Ranking

He’ll need the right trip to win the Derby, but his late-closing style could be especially dangerous when there appears to be plenty of speed signing on for the first Saturday in September. Biancone admitted that he rushed Sole Volante to the Belmont 10 days after winning an allowance race, and that he runs better fresh, so I won’t hold the Belmont sixth against him.

Max Player
Connections

Owner: George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Breeder: K & G Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Honor Code

Dam: Fools in Love, by Not For Love

Sales Record: $150,000 RNA at Keeneland September yearling sale

60
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-3 from five starts, $373,500

Major Races: G1 Travers (3rd), G1 Belmont Stakes (3rd), G3 Withers (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

10th
Paulick Report Ranking

He ran willingly enough in the Belmont, and all reports from the colt’s camp were positive leading up to his third in the Travers. The switch to Asmussen’s barn doesn’t seem to have affected his workout style; Asmussen tends to work his horses slower, but Max Player went sub-1:00 in his five furlong workout on Monday. The barn switch would typically move him up in my eyes, but if Asmussen isn’t changing what the colt has been doing, I’ll leave him in the same place on my list as when he was in Linda Rice’s barn.

Enforceable
Connections

Owner: John Oxley

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Breeder: Clearsky Farms

Pedigree

Sire: Tapit

Dam: Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union

Sales Record: $775,000 RNA at Keeneland September sale

43
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-2-2 from ten starts, $397,150

Major Races: G2 Blue Grass Stakes (4th), G2 Risen Star (2nd), G3 Lecomte (1st), G1 Breeders’ Futurity (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

11th
Paulick Report Ranking

Distance should help this well-bred colt, and Casse seems happy with his recent workouts. Enforceable’s late-running style might be a detriment, but with the right draw and the right trip, anything is possible.

Shirl’s Speight
Connections

Owner/Breeder: Charles Fipke

Trainer: Roger Attfield

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Pedigree

Sire: Speightstown

Dam: Perfect Shirl, by Perfect Soul

0
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-0 from two starts, $86,893

Major Races: G3 Marine Stakes (1st)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

12th
Paulick Report Ranking

Shirl’s Speight now gets into the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, and while he’s clearly talented, the Derby is a big step up for a horse with just two prior starts. I’ll be watching his morning works closely leading up to the first Saturday in September. The pick up of Corey Lanerie as his Derby jock is a positive step because of the rider’s familiarity with Churchill Downs, but it still seems like a lot to ask of a colt who’s yet to race on the dirt.

Major Fed
Connections

Owner/Breeder: Lloyd Madison

Trainer: Greg Foley

Jockey: James Graham

Pedigree

Sire: Hard Spun

Dam: Aristra, by Afleet Alex

Sales record: $200,000 yearling at Keeneland September sale

38
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-2-1 from six starts, $215,600

Major Races: G3 Indiana Derby (2nd), G2 Risen Star (2nd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

13th
Paulick Report Ranking

He hasn’t gotten that top-level win yet, but Major Fed has a dedicated team behind him dedicated to his success. He will skip the Ellis Park Derby and point straight to the Kentucky Derby, and while he won’t be lower than 20-1 on Derby day, the power of the home team may propel Major Fed beyond his race record.

Finnick the Fierce
Connections

Owner: Rey Hernandez and Arnaldo Monge

Trainer: Rey Hernandez

Jockey: Martin Garcia

Breeder: Paige Jillian Blu Sky Stables

Pedigree

Sire: Dialed In

Dam: Southern Classic, by Southern Image

25
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-2 from nine starts, $191,290

Major Races: G1 Arkansas Derby (3rd), G3 Lecomte Stakes (4th), G2 Kentucky Jockey Club (2nd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

14th
Paulick Report Ranking

The one-eyed Finnick the Fierce will draw plenty of fan-favoritism, though his credentials may not match his price. He’s a cool colt who’s run well intermittently, and a good performance could put him in the mix on Derby day. Martin Garcia will be back aboard, which moved the colt up this list this week.

Attachment Rate
Connections

Owner: Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Joe Talamo

Breeder: Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III

Pedigree

Sire: Uncle Mo

Dam: Symbolic Gesture, by Bernardini

38
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-3-1 from eight starts, $143,732

Major Races: Ellis Park Derby (2nd), G3 Gotham (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

15th
Paulick Report Ranking

Clearly second-best to Art Collector in the Ellis Park Derby, but Romans plans to point this son of Hard Spun to the Run for the Roses. And why not? It’s his home track, and the Virginia-bred is improving a bit this year. 

Necker Island
Connections

Owner: Raymond Daniels and Wayne Scherr

Trainer: Chris Hartman

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC

Pedigree

Sire: Hard Spun

Dam: Jenny’s Rocket, by Mr. Greeley

Sales Record: $250,000 yearling at Keeneland September

14
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-0-3 from 10 starts, $199,730

Major Races: Ellis Park Derby (3rd), G3 Indiana Derby (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

16th
Paulick Report Ranking

A step below the best, but the Derby is for dreamers and mid-level trainer Chris Hartman has continued to show that he can work with the best when given the chance. Miguel Mena has had a pretty hot hand all summer at Ellis, so that could move him up.

Rushie
Connections

Owner: Jim and Donna Daniell

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Jockey: TBD

Breeder: Ocala Stud

Pedigree

Sire: Liam’s Map

Dam: Conquest Angel, by Colonel John

Sales record: $70,000 2-year-old purchase at OBS March sale

40
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-2 from six starts, $189,351

Major Races: G2 Blue Grass Stakes (3rd), G1 Santa Anita Derby (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

17th
Paulick Report Ranking

Rushie is now planning to be shipped to Churchill Downs, having run well enough in a couple of Derby preps and has enough points to make the main field on his own. It’ll be interesting to see what happens moving forward with this colt.

Dr Post
Connections

Owner: St. Elias Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Breeder: Cloyce Clark

Pedigree

Sire: Quality Road

Dam: Mary Delaney, by Hennessy 

Sales Record: $400,000 yearling at Keeneland September

83
Derby Points

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

Major Races: G1 Haskell (3rd), G1 Belmont (2nd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

18th
Paulick Report Ranking

Unimpressive performance in the Haskell, and Dr Post appears to be more of a one-paced grinder than the kind of horse who can win the Kentucky Derby. Down the road, he ought to try some marathon distances, because he looks like the type to run all day long.

However, should the colt’s racing tactics change, he might be worth a second look.

Storm the Court
Connections

Owner: David A Bernsen, Exline-Border Racing LLC, Dan Hudock, and Susanna Wilson

Trainer: Peter Eurton

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Breeder: Stepping Stone Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Court Vision

Dam: My Tejana Storm, Tejano Run

Sales Record: $60,000 2-year-old at OBS April sale

36
Derby Points

Race Record: 2-1-3 from nine starts, $1,310,451

Major Races: G3 La Jolla (2nd), G3 Ohio Derby (3rd), G2 San Felipe (3rd), G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (1st), G1 American Pharoah (3rd)

Next Expected Start

possible for Kentucky Derby

19th
Paulick Report Ranking

Second in a graded stakes on the turf last out, Storm the Court will ship to Louisville Kentucky Derby. He hasn’t produced a top-level win this year, but continues hitting the board or getting close to it on the dirt. Leparoux has committed to ride, and if he’s working well, there’s always a chance.

Winning Impression
Connections

Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds and Pearl Racing

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Jockey: Joe Rocco, Jr.

Breeder: WinStar Farm

Pedigree

Sire: Paynter

Dam: Unbridled Sonya, by Unbridled’s Song

Sales Record: $77,000 2-year-old at OBS April sale

20
Derby Points

Race Record: 1-1-2 from nine starts, $98,552

Major Races: Arkansas Derby (3rd)

Next Expected Start

Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5

20th
Paulick Report Ranking

While its hard to see positives in Winning Impression’s most recent two efforts, trainer Dallas Stewart has a reputation for producing longshots for a career-best effort in the Kentucky Derby. 

The post The Derby 20 Presented By NYRA Bets: Decisions, Decisions appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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