Now that Churchill Downs has unveiled the logo for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, now is a great time for another unveiling: My first top ten list for the 144th edition of America’s most famous horse race.
No real surprises from a creative thinking point of view. The lists (Derby to the left, Oaks below) are a mashup of the top Brisnet.com Speed Ratings to date with preferences toward certain sires and trainers.
Copper Bullet gets the nod on top after chasing Salmanazer on debut at Keeneland before winning at Churchill. He’s pointing toward the Bashford Manor–a race that last year produced eventual champion two-year-old male Classic Empire and graded stakes-winning sprinter Recruiting Ready.
Earth won his only start on turf, but being by Derby winner Orb and trained by Todd Pletcher I expect him to get his shot on dirt eventually and could move up if he races well on that surface.
As for the Oaks, it’s an even more straightforward list with most of the early stakes winners well represented, though I couldn’t resist putting Empress of Lov on top given that she won early despite a classic pedigree topped by sire Classic Empire.
Squeeze Me has made both her starts at Turf Paradise, but she’s fast, and it will be interested to see how she’s tested in her third career start.