Weekend races improve Derby credentials for a pair of colts

Weekend races improve Derby credentials for a pair of colts
(Source: John P. Wise/WAVE 3 News)


Last weekend’s Kentucky Derby preps were won by two runners both of whom were already considered prime contenders for the Run for the Roses.

Both Essential Quality and Greatest Honour performed admirably in their races on Saturday. Essential Quality, the top 2-year-old of 2020, made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He simply picked up where he left off as he romped to win by four lengths. His time for the mile and a sixteenth was solid as Essential Quality kept his perfect record intact: four starts, four victories. The Southwest win also showed he could win on a sloppy track, a valuable experience which might come in handy down the road.

“Big performance off the layoff,” Essential Quality’s trainer Brad Cox told the Oaklawn Park notes team. “Hopefully, we can take another jump or two forward, I think, in order to win the Derby. Hopefully, he has it in him. It was a very nice race (in the Southwest).”

Greatest Honour continues to progress on the Derby road. At Gulfstream Park, the colt was eight lengths from the lead on the far turn of the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Then, jockey Jose Ortiz swung Greatest Honour to the outside, going about five-wide. The colt came charging , ran down pacesetter, Drain the Clock, and posted a length and a half win. It was visually impressive and his trainer, Shug McGaughey is convinced Greatest Honour is suited for the mile and a quarter distance on the First Saturday in May.

Here’s our latest Derby Fab Five:

  1. Essential Quality - Holds his number one ranking as his time in the Southwest received a better speed figure vs. Greatest Honour’s figure the Fountain of Youth. Next start: either the Blue Grass Stakes or the Arkansas Derby.
  2. Greatest Honour - Keeps getting better and better. Next start: Florida Derby.
  3. Life is Good - In good hands with 6-time Derby winner, Bob Baffert. Next start: Saturday’s San Felipe at Santa Anita.
  4. Caddo River - Another Derby contender in Brad Cox’s barn. Dazzled in taking the Smarty Jones Stakes. Next start: Rebel Stakes.
  5. Mandaloun - The Risen Star winner is yet another contender for Cox ! Next start: Louisiana Derby

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