The theme of my second Kentucky Derby and Oaks top 10 lists is “go with what you know”, and after spending a lot of time handicapping the racing at Churchill Downs this year, I’ve been impressed enough with the two-year-olds there to pump them up well ahead of the 2019 Kentucky Derby and Oaks.
On the male side of things, I’ll be stubborn with Nitrous off a troubled debut and keep him on top while adding the horse who beat him–Strike Dancer–in the third slot. Fluminense and Tight Ten are two other Steve Asmussen trainees debuting in the top 7 off strong debut runs. Speaking of strong debuts from the barn of a Racing Hall of Fame trainer, Instagrand drops in at number 6 for Jerry Hollendorfer while future Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher is represented by #5 La Fuerza off a strong New York-bred victory.
For the fillies, Restless Rider was super impressive in winning the Debutante, but I couldn’t resist sticking Somewhere on top of her because the Quality Road filly is out of the Najran mare Silver Lullaby, which makes her from the family of Million Stars, a Hennessy who captured my imagination when winning her career debut sprinting on turf in 2002 at Ellis Park but never raced again. The family includes a French classic winner and lots of turf wins, so Somewhere is worth watching from a development standpoint.