Life is still Good for Bob Baffert in our Derby Contenders

Three Bob Baffert trained horses are among my top ten Kentucky Derby 2021 Contenders this week
Three Bob Baffert trained horses are among my top ten Kentucky Derby 2021 Contenders this week

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Welcome to the latest in our weekly HorseRacing.net rankings for Kentucky Derby horses. Each week Neil, J.N. and myself will rank our current top ten horses and one of us with write an overview of where we are and the changes from the previous week.

This week it is the turn of our Editor who takes us through his top ten ahead of the Lecomte this weekend as the Prep scene is about to get an awful lot more exciting and we'll start seeing major shake-ups within our top ten's...

All of our Top Ten's are below...

Kentucky Derby 2021 Contenders
  • Position
  • J.N.
  • Neil
  • Sean

Position

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Last Updated:

J.N.

  • Essential Quality
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Known Agenda
  • Highly Motivated
  • Rock Your World
  • Super Stock
  • Midnight Bourbon
  • Concert Tour
  • Medina Spirit
  • Mandaloun
  • 13 April 2021

Neil

  • Essential Quality
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Highly Motivated
  • Known Agenda
  • Medina Spirit
  • Rock Your World
  • Super Stock
  • Soup and Sandwich
  • Greatest Honour
  • Concert Tour
  • 13 April 2021

Sean

  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Medina Spirit
  • Essential Quality
  • Rock Your World
  • Highly Motivated
  • Dream Shake
  • Concert Tour
  • Known Agenda
  • Midnight Bourbon
  • Mandaloun
  • 13 April 2021

#1 Life Is Good:  For seven straight weeks Bob Baffert's horse has topped both Sean and I's top ten but we both looked closely at putting his stablemate Medina Spirit in top spot following his run at the Grade III Sham. Sean put him in second and I put him a bit further down but despite looking fatigued coming down the final furlong, Life is Good put up a 101 Beyer number and that alone is enough for him to keep top spot...for now.

#2 Jackie's Warrior:  I know he didn't win last time and in fact - was desperately disappointing - in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but I'm not ready to runaway from the Steve Asmussen trained three-year-old just yet. It is looking likely that he'll head to Oaklawn Park next for the Grade III Southwest Stakes where we'll see if a few months off will have rejuvenated him. You don't put up two Grade I wins as a two-year-old and get forgotten about that easily in my mind.

#3 Senor Buscador:  It perplexes me that I'm the only one of the three of us to have the Todd Fincher trained three-year-old son of Mineshaft in his top ten but here we are. In terms of pure impressiveness, he was the best winner of any prep race over the past few weeks. The field at the Springboard Mile may not have been great but a slow start and coming wide to blitz any field is enough to get my attention. Logically he'll stay relatively local for his next step on the Road to the Kentucky Derby so look for a Oaklawn or Fair Grounds race in February for his next start,

#4 Essential Quality:  Here is a horse whom I'm luke warm on and is only as high as he is on my list because he won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile. His next run (expected either at the Southwest or Risen Star) will dictate whether he stays as a top contender in my mind or drifts away. I know this seems illogical as he has many Grade I wins as Jackie's Warrior but I need to see more.

#5 Highly Motivated:  Speed kills says a popular car safety advert but in Horse Racing - speed excites. The son of Into Mischief has raw speed to burn and whilst three are huge question marks over his stamina, you can't argue with how the Chad Brown trained horse performed at the Nyquist Stakes back in November. He shaved one-hundredth off the track record at Keeneland for 6.5f in the race winning in 1:14.99 earning a 96 Beyer. The stamina questions will surely get answered in due course but for now - he has a spot in the top five.

#6 Medina Spirit:  Sean has vaulted him all the way up to second and I can see why but I'm being a little more conservative. The way he almost chased down Life is Good was extremely impressive to see. To win around two turns under the Twin Spirit on the first Saturday in May, you need stamina and the ability to hold on. I have no doubts Medina Spirit has that capability but I want to see more.

#7 Vequist:  I'm still on an island but listing the filly but until I see ten better two-years-olds then I'm going to keep her listed. A 93 Beyer winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies shows she has speed around two turns. I don't expect her to remain in my top ten long-term and no doubt she'll be pointed towards the Oaks but for now I look at the who has impressed me the most and she's right up there. I fully expect by the time I'm due to write-up my top ten again in three weeks, she'll be gone.

#8 Spielberg:  The highly touted Spielberg only gets into my top ten based on his final furlong at the Los Alamitos Futurity. Until that point he wouldn't have made it in at all but the way he chased down The Great One is worthy of noting. The 81 Beyer is nothing to write home about and at this point, he's third on the list of Bob Baffert contenders but so was Authentic behind Nadal and Charlatan and we all saw what happened there. J.N. is very high on him at this point but for me he's only just in my top ten. Next up is likely the Robert B. Lewis.

#9 Mandaloun:  A bit of a flier this one but Into Mischief has proven himself to be one helluva stallion and after an 81 Beyer at Churchill Downs in late November, this is another horse I want to see up against a better quality of competition in the near future. That future starts this Saturday at the Grade III Lecomte at Fair Grounds. A strong run there and he'll be moving on up.

#10 Hot Rod Charlie:  Expected to have a lay-off after finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile so expect him to drift out of the Top Ten next time I update my list. Just like one bad run doesn't get me to runaway (a la Jackie's Warrior) - one good run doesn't pique my interest but for now, he keeps the final Top Ten spot on my list. The Robert B. Lewis could be his next landing spot.

Kentucky Derby 2021

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