LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) -
During this winter and spring, Hot Rod Charlie had been listed by most Kentucky Derby polls/rankings as a part of the fringe contenders for the Run for the Roses. But after his rousing run to the wire in the Louisiana Derby, “Hot Rod” has moved up in my latest rankings, and of course in other listings, too.
The Doug O’Neill colt showed plenty of courage in capturing Saturday’s race at Fair Grounds as he took it nearly wire-to-wire.
Less than six weeks out till Derby Day, here’s our latest Fab Five, Plus Five:
- Essential Quality: Holds the top spot for now. He’s been so professional and has the perfect running style for the Derby. The Blue Grass Stakes is next.
- Concert Tour - Trained by six-time Derby winner, Bob Baffert, this runner gets the slight nod over Greatest Honour for number two. Coming off his brilliant win in the Rebel, he might return to Oaklawn for his next race, the Arkansas Derby.
- Greatest Honour - Based on his races, he should have no problem with the Derby distance. Saturday’s Florida Derby will be his final exam before heading to Louisville.
- Hot Rod Charlie - May be peaking after his triumph at Fair Grounds . A big plus is he’s now won at a distance of a mile and three-sixteenths, only a sixteenth less than the Derby. His trainer, Doug O’Neill, has a pair of Kentucky Derby wins on his resume.
- Medina Spirit - Another contender for Baffert, this runner will look to leap into elite status with a big effort in the Santa Anita Derby.
- Risk Taking - Only 23rd on the Derby points list, he’ll need to win or run second in the April 3rd Wood Memorial.
- Midnight Bourbon - Consistent, hard-trying colt is coming off a runnerup effort in the Louisiana Derby.
- Spielberg - After finishing second behind Essential Quality in the Southwest Stakes, this Baffert runner will tackle Greatest Honour in Saturday’s Florida Derby.
- Hozier - Yet another Baffert Derby hopeful. He ran second to Concert Tour in the Rebel. Next start for this late bloomer is likely the Arkansas Derby.
- Mandaloun - As the 8-5 favorite, he finished a puzzling sixth in the Louisiana Derby.
Keep an eye on what trainer Brad Cox lays out for this colt.