Well Armed may have had the most visually impressive victory on the Dubai World Cup card, but Timeform has ranked him the second-best horse in the world – with Dubai Duty Free winner Gladiatorus number one at a rating of 132 (in case you were wondering, the only other American-based horse apart from Well Armed to crack the top ten is Zenyatta). In retrospect, Gladiatorus (pictured) deserved a lot more respect coming in – the KY-bred horse has only been out of the money once in his career. I’ll have to do a belated Horses Americans Should Know feature on him in the near future; in the meantime, his next steps are rejoining the Godolphin A-team (he had been running for one of Sheikh Mohammed’s sons, Sheikh Mansoor – but apparently dad wants him back now) and heading to Europe as a miler.
In case you are curious about Timeform’s other ratings for the Dubai World Cup card, Regal Ransom’s win in the UAE Derby was rated a 116 – it seems the only track he hasn’t taken to is Santa Anita. Desert Party was given a 115 for his runner-up effort, although I found more to like in Regal Ransom (and I must confess I wasn’t overawed by the rest of the field). Whether both colts will indeed be pointed to our own Kentucky Derby remains to be seen, but it looks as though both will ship to the States. British challenger Mafaaz is already scheduled to give the Blue Grass a shot, although his guaranteed Derby slot certainly leaves supporters of Dunkirk in hand-wringing mode.
I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Dunkirk’s predicament; yes, I thought he ran well in the Florida Derby, but he was no match for Quality Road who was thoroughly professional (even given the fact that he is also lightly-raced). Nevertheless, I did include him in my top ten for this week because he did show a lot of potential – but as I’m not a huge fan of the lightly-raced Derby trail trend, both Dunkirk and Imperial Council are keeping toward the bottom of my list. Should Imperial Council defeat I Want Revenge in the Wood, I’d certainly re-evaluate that position (and it sounds as though trainer Shug McGaughey is approaching that race in the same way). However, I see a lot of names on the graded earnings list that I would not expect to see in the starting gate come Derby day – we’ll have to see how that plays out. Without further ado, here’s this week’s Superfecta Derby Top 10:
1) The Pamplemousse
2) Quality Road
3) Friesan Fire
4) I Want Revenge
5) Pioneerof the Nile
6) Regal Ransom
7) Old Fashioned
9) Chocolate Candy
10) Imperial Council
You’ll notice I added Chocolate Candy back to the list – while I’m keeping The Pamplemousse (who finally has a hat, as well as a side career as an artist) number one and his faceoff with Pioneerof the Nile is going to be the weekend’s big event for me, I expect Chocolate Candy to come out from under the radar to some extent (if I were actually at the track, I’d likely bet The Pamplemousse/Chocolate Candy as an exacta). It’s true he hasn’t beaten much so far, but I like his pedigree. We’ll see!
Check back later in the week for more on both the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial – we’re almost in the home stretch (which means I should get around to figuring out my trip to Kentucky)…