Bob and Todd's excellent adventures carry on after a winning weekend in Kentucky Derby prep races.
The exceptional results leave Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher training six of the horses in the AP's latest Run to the Roses Top 10 list of Kentucky Derby contenders.
Baffert's Lookin At Lucky remains No. 1 while awaiting his 3-year-old debut in the San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 13. Conveyance won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, giving Baffert the No. 3 prospect as well.
Pletcher, meanwhile, hit the trifecta with victories in three Derby preps. Eskendereya romped by 8 1/2 lengths in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, Discreetly Mine won the Risen Star by 1 1/2 lengths at the Fair Grounds, and Connemara took the El Camino Real by three-quarters of a length at Golden Gate Fields.
The results leave Pletcher with four top-10 horses _ No. 2 Eskendereya, No. 4 Rule, No. 5 Discreetly Mine and No. 9 Connemara.
Baffert has won the Derby three times. Pletcher is 0-for-24, but excited.
"You've got to be excited when they perform like that in these kind of races at this time of year," Pletcher said following Eskendereya's second straight win in 2010 and third overall on the dirt. "I was particularly pleased with the way he finished. I don't think we've ever gotten to the bottom of him."
The next stop for the chestnut son of Giant's Causeway is likely the Florida Derby on March 20, and then onto Churchill Downs for the Derby on May 1.
Discreetly Mine bounded onto the Derby trail with a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2-length win over Tempted to Tapit in the 1 1-16-mile Risen Star. The son of Mineshaft won for just the second time in seven starts, but is headed next to the Louisiana Derby on March 27.
"I expected him to be on the lead ... and he looked happy galloping along," winning rider Javier Castellano said. "I am very satisfied with the way the race developed."
Connemara, the 13-10 favorite, rallied from last in the nine-horse field and won the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real by 1 1/4 lengths _ the colt's third win in four starts. Another son of Giant's Causeway, Connemara is likely to run next in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.
"He's improving with every race and extra distance won't hurt this colt at all," winning jockey Russell Baze said.
And then there's Baffert. With Martin Garcia subbing for regular rider Garrett Gomez, 9-5 favorite Conveyance raced to an early lead and held off Dublin by three-quarters of a length in the Southwest Stakes. The gray colt is now 4 for 4 and headed next to the Santa Anita Derby.
The Southwest was rescheduled from Feb. 13, when icy conditions forced a postponement.
New in this week's top 10 are Discreetly Mine, Hutcheson winner D'Funnybone, Connemara and Tempted to Tapit. Out are Buddy's Saint (ninth in the Fountain of Youth after being jostled at the start), Sidney's Candy, American Lion and Lentenor, who ran second in an allowance race at Gulfstream last Wednesday.
Several races Saturday could produce Kentucky Derby prospects: the Sham at Santa Anita, the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park and the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.
1. Lookin At Lucky (Bob Baffert, trainer; Garrett Gomez, jockey): 2-year-old champion worked 6 furlongs in 1:15.40 on Monday at Santa Anita ... winner in 5 of 6 starts in 2009 ... only loss was runner-up in BC Juvenile ... Next start: San Felipe (March 13, Santa Anita, synthetic) ... Derby future wager odds: 8-1.
2. Eskendereya (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Romped by 8 1/2 lengths in Fountain of Youth ... 2 for 2 in 2010 ... son of Giant's Causeway is 3 for 3 overall on dirt ... Next start: Florida Derby (March 20, Gulfstream, dirt) ... Odds: 22-1.
3. Conveyance (Baffert, Gomez): Gray colt is 4-for 4 after three-quarter length win in Southwest ... Transition to dirt went smoothly with rider Martin Garcia subbing for Gomez ... Next start: Santa Anita Derby (April 3, Santa Anita) ... Odds: 33-1.
4. Rule (Pletcher, Velazquez): Sam F. Davis winner has four-race winning streak ... Training in south Florida ... Next start: Undecided ... Odds: 24-1.
5. Discreetly Mine (Pletcher, Javier Castellano): Won Risen Star by 1 1/2 lengths ... Son of Mineshaft may have it together after losses to other Derby contenders ... Next start: Louisiana Derby (March 27, Fair Grounds, dirt) ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
6. Jackson Bend (Nick Zito, Jeremy Rose): Second again, this time in Fountain of Youth ... Game little colt has 5 wins, 3 seconds in 8 starts ... Next start: Florida Derby ... Odds: 27-1.
7. D'Funnybone (Rick Dutrow, Edgar Prado): Won 7-furlong Hutcheson by length ... Dutrow of Big Brown fame back in Derby hunt ... Throw out 13th-place finish in BC Juvenile on synthetics ... Next start: Undecided ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
8. Dublin (D. Wayne Lukas, Terry Thompson): Solid second in Southwest to kick of 2010 campaign ... Lukas encouraged as he looks for fifth Derby win ... Next start: Rebel (March 13, Oaklawn Park, dirt) ... Derby odds: 20-1.
9. Connemara (Pletcher, Russell Baze): Won El Camino Real Derby by three-quarters of a length ... Still much to prove, but we're talking Pletcher trainee here ... Next start: Santa Anita Derby ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
10. Tempted to Tapit (Steve Klesaris, David Cohen): Loved gray colt's runner-up effort in Risen Star ... Son of Tapit purchased in '08 for $18,000 ... Next start: Louisiana Derby ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
Keep an eye on: Buddy's Saint, Caracortado, Noble's Promise, Sidney's Candy, Super Saver.
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