When the juvenile champion makes his seasonal debut, you know Kentucky Derby fever is well underway. Shanghai Bobby came up short to Itsmyluckyday in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26, but he ran a quality race in his first effort since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in early November. From this point forward, however, there is little room for error for Shanghai Bobby and all of the other contenders on the Road to the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
Recent prep races:
Upcoming prep races:
All of the upcoming races are still considered part of the "prep" portion of the Official Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The winner receives 10 points towards securing a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs, with the second, third and fourth place finishers earning four, two and one points, respectively.
Let's take a look at the 20 horses on our Kentucky Derby Contenders Watch List and whether their Derby stock is rising, falling or remaining steady.
Archwarrior (Off the Derby trail): A highly touted colt last summer at Saratoga, Archwarrior is officially off the Derby trail.
Avie's Quality (Falling): No works since finishing 8th in the Lecomte at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 19.
Capo Bastone (Steady): Continues to work and could be pointing towards the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 23 for his seasonal debut.
Dewey Square (Falling): Didn't run much at all when finishing a well-beaten 7th in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 26. A horse can get away with one clunker on the road to the Kentucky Derby but it's hard to overcome another. He'll likely point towards the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 23 or the Florida Derby on March 30.
Frac Daddy (Falling): He grabbed a quarter in the Holy Bull on 1/26 and faded to finish 6th in the stretch. The injury isn't serious but it will shelve him for a little while; he should be back in training in time to run in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Feb. 23, if the connections chose to go that direction. Still, any injury and time off makes it that much harder for a colt to make it to the Derby.
General Election (Steady): Still working at the Fair Grounds; could be in line to begin his 2013 season in the G2-Risen Star on Feb 23.
Goldencents (Steady): Returned to the track on Jan. 26 for the first time since late December and blew out six furlongs on the Santa Anita main track in a swift 1:10.20.
Hard to Name (Falling): Hasn't worked since his second consecutive flop back on Jan. 12.
Itsmyluckyday (Significantly Rising): Beat Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 3 Holly Bull Stakes at GP on 1/26. He's now two-for-two in 2013 and in fantastic form as he rolls towards the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30, his final start prior to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. His Holy Bull win proves he's for real.
Normandy Invasion (Steady): Continues steady works down in Florida as he prepares for his first start of 2013. Early reports indicated trainer Chad Brown was targeting the Grade 2 Risen Star for his seasonal debut but plans have yet to be finalized.
Overanalyze (Steady): A brisk work down at the Palm Meadows Training Center on Jan. 27; we could be looking at his seasonal debut in the Gotham at Aqueduct on March 2.
Palace Malice (Falling): Made his seasonal debut at Gulfstream on Jan. 19 and finished 2nd in an Allowance/Optional Claiming event. That was his first start since breaking his maiden in early August at Saratoga.
Power Broker (Falling): Hasn't worked since finishing 5th in the Juvenile on Nov. 3.
Revolutionary (Steady): Will make his seasonal debut in the Withers on Feb. 2 off of just two works since late December and his first try against stakes company. That's a big ask of a young colt. If he wins the Withers he could be the real deal.
Shanghai Bobby (Steady): Beaten two lengths by Itsmyluckyday in his seasonal debut but he was well-clear of the show horse and the race came back very fast on the figures. No shame in finishing second to Itsmyluckyday but there's still a small concern that he might not want to run much further than a mile or a mile and an eighth.
Titletown Five (Falling): The Paul Hornung co-owned horse had a knee chip removed after his maiden breaking win on Oct. 28. It's still possible Titletown Five could make a late spring run at the Derby but he'll have little margin for error and he'll likely have to win or come in second in one of the big preps off of a long layoff. Tough task.
To the Stars (Falling): He took his second shot at breaking his maiden but came up a head short in a Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.
Uncaptured (Steady): Hasn't worked since mid-November but will likely point towards the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 13.
Violence (Steady): Continuing to breeze at Palm Meadows in Florida.
War Academy (Steady): Still working in SoCal but elected to skip the Grade 2 Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 2.