Kentucky Derby Power Rankings: Week of March 31

Chris Trotman

There were some big shakeups in the ADTSTC Top Ten after a stakes-filled weekend. Here's the rankings:

1. Verrazano (8.75 points)

He wasn't the consensus number-one among ADTSTC voters, but he claimed the top spot after some elite horses failed to impress in last weekend's preps. The Todd Pletcher trainee is, of course, set to defend his throne in Saturday's Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and will face a tough crowd, including undefeated Vyjack, heading to the gate. Verrazano flew into Aqueduct from Florida on Wednesday, but that was after posting a quick five-furlong work at Palm Meados on March 31 (breezing in 1:01.17, 1/17).

2. Revolutionary (8.25 points)

Perhaps the greatest beneficiary of last weekend's high-profile Derby preps was Revolutionary. The son of War Pass eked-out Mylute to win the Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds by a neck. The win give Pletcher yet another hot Derby contender, and one who's overcome some criticism for the quality of fields he's faced. Revolutionary took center stage last Saturday and showed the racing world why he's a legitimate contender.

T3. Orb (7.75 points)

Perhaps the most impressive stakes winner last week was Orb. He beat out an outstanding field of rivals in the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream, that included former ADTSC-number one Itsmyluckyday and two-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby. It is worth noting that each of Orb's three victories in 2013 came on the dirt of Gulfstream, so we've never seen him ship out to score a victory (as he's trained at Payson Park). That being said, Orb might have the best resume in terms of who he's beaten and looks to be a force running up to the Kentucky Derby.

T3. Itsmyluckyday (7.75 points)

Itsmyluckyday had his chance to validate the hype as when he headed to the gate in the Florida Derby. While he didn't score a victory, he did impress. The son of Lawyer Ron ran a tight race and was in a comfortable position on the lead heading into the stretch. Orb was simply too much to handle as he got a dreamy outside lane to make his move. Itsmylucky will most likely not run another prep race, and will begin his Derby preparation in coming weeks.

5. Oxbow (3.50 points)

D. Wayne Lukas doesn't have a Pletcher-style star-studded bench, but he's got a gritty competitor in Oxbow. This horse, while he doesn't score every star is consistently in the mix near the wire. His last outing resulted in a defeat at the hands of fellow Lukas trainee Will Take Charge in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Oxbow will get his last shot at a big victory in the Grade I Arkansas Derby next Saturday. That race looks to include competition from the Baffert barn, in Den's Legacy and War Academy.

6. Super Ninety Nine (3.25 points)

This Baffert-trained colt was all the rage after an eleven-length romp in the slop of Oaklawn Park's Grade III Southwest Stakes in February. Since then ,he disappointed in his return, finishing fifth in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. He'll get a shot at redemption Saturday as he lines up at Santa Anita Park to run in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. The SA Derby field, even with the absence of San Felipe winner Hear the Ghost, is star-studded. To score a victory, Ninety Nine will need to overcome a field that includes grade stakes winners Flashback, Goldencents, and Power Broker along with up-and-coming Tiz A Minister.

7. Vyjack (3.00 points)

Vyjack could top many lists next week if he scores a win in Saturday's Wood Memorial. He's putting his undefeated record on the line, along with fellow undefeated colt Verrazano. Vyjack certainly holds a hometown advantage in the Wood, as all four of his victories have come at Aqueduct. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez finished serving a 20-day suspension Friday, but the drama surrounding Vyjack's trainer is only getting heavier. This could spell trouble for a camp trying to solidify a place in the Kentucky Derby field, but a win in the Wood would ease some tension.

8. Will Take Charge (2.75 points)

The other Lukas trainee turning heads is Will Take Charge, who's been inconsistent throughout his young career, but recently notched an impressive win at Oaklawn in the Grade II Rebel Stakes. He breezed a fast five furlongs at Oaklawn on Friday (1:01.00, 1/10) and could go in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland next week. Lukas has not confirmed his next move, though, and the next time we see Will Take Charge could be the first Saturday in May.

T9. Mylute (1.50 points)

Mylute was an impressive second in the Grade II Louisiana Derby and gave Revolutionary a run for his money to the wire. The son of Midnight Lute last raced in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in February and finished a lackluster seventh. Prior to that race, he had an impressive showing in the Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot at Delta Downs (finishing third) and in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs (finishing second). Mylute jumped right into the Derby conversation after the Louisiana Derby, and will likely start preparations for the Run for the Roses in coming weeks.

T9. Flashback (1.50 points)

Bob Baffert made a jockey switch for Flashback's start in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby Saturday, as Garrett Gomez will replace Julien Leparoux. This move comes after a scandalously disappointing showing in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes last month in which Flashback wasted speed dueling with rival Goldencents. Both were overtaken by a charging Hear the Ghost late in the stretch. With Hear the Ghost absent, Flashback is a solid favorite in the SA Derby but will need a top-flight performance to score against tough competition.

First Five Out:

11. Code West (1.38 points)

12. Normandy Invasion (0.88 points)

13. Den's Legacy (0.75 points)

14. Departing (0.5 points)

15. Govenor Charlie (0.38 points)

Others Receiving Votes: Tiz A Minister, Dreaming Of Julia, Midnight Lucky, Merit Man, Elnaawi, Rydilluc, War Academy, Overanalyze

Note: Hear the Ghost garnered 2.00 points in voting, but was taken off the Derby trail and removed from consideration. Shanghai Bobby also garnered enough points to place in our Top Ten with 1.50 points, but was also taken off the Derby trail and removed from consideration.

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