By Nick Hahn
Nick’s picks for the top ten three year old horses in North America with at least one start on the turf in 2013. Nick picks ’em with an eye towards the G2 Virginia Derby on July 13.
- RYDILLUC – Trainer Gary Contessa’s Medaglia d’Oro colt appears to be on the path for Providence Forge after his Penn Mile win. Jack Milton and Charming Kitten were moving on Rydilluc at the wire as Edgar Prado was throttling him down. Since the Penn Mile, the three year-old May foal has been working weekly at Belmont Park.
- UP WITH THE BIRDS – Malcolm Pierce’s Stormy Atlantic colt hasn’t moved off the grounds at Woodbine since well before his easy victory in Marine stakes. He will apparently stay north of the border for the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby. Only Javier Castellano’s nifty ride aboard on Noble Tune kept this Canadian-bred from winning the Transylvania.
- CHARMING KITTEN – Edgar Prado piloted the Ramsey homebred in the Kentucky Derby slop (9th) and then opted for Rydilluc in Penn Mile. Joel Rosario gave him a solid trip in the Penn Mile making him, on paper, first in line should Rydilluc not make the mile and a quarter. He rebounded well on the turf after the flirt with the Triple Crown dirt. In March, he won the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream, named after his sire.
- JACK MILTON – Todd Pletcher may like the added quarter mile of the Virginia Derby for his current Belmont Park resident. Jack Milton ran even with first runner up Charming Kitten in the Penn Mile stretch and galloped out well. His Transylvania win over a talented field helps his light racing resume that had only 5 starts for this late foal who didn’t have a start as a two-year old.
- NOBLE TUNE – Not the best of trips in the Penn Mile, yet we were expecting a little bit more out of Chad Brown’s colt. He had a solid run in the American Turf over Derby weekend so he’s worthy of having a line drawn through his slow starting Penn Mile effort. The Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf runner up has 4 wins in his last 6 starts and should make the Belmont shuttle to central Virginia next month.
- NOTACATBUTALLAMA – Mike Repole win the best name award in this edition of the Turf Ten with his May foal named after an incident that occurred in a word game he was playing. After the Hill Prince win over stubborn Play It Loud last Saturday, Pletcher has another Virginia Derby candidate. Pletcher and jockey John Velasquez teamed up to win the 2005 Virginia Derby with English Channel.
- ADMIRAL KITTEN – Before winning the Belmont Stakes, Mike Smith had another “admiral” ride, nearly good enough to collect the Arlington Classic over Memorial Day weekend. The Ramsey home-bred is one of many Kitten’s Joy to be watching this summer. Only one career win on the turf for Michael Maker’s pupil but he’s been running well in tough company and working at Churchill Downs.
- GENERAL ELECTION – The Battaglia winner and first runner up in the Lexington Stakes made his first turf start a winning one in the Arlington Classic with a perfect Rocco ride. However it appears the American Derby at Arlington will be the next start for Winstar Farm’s colt by Harlan’s Holiday out of a Kingmambo mare.
- FREE WORLD – Winstar could start Free World in the Virginia Derby after his two length score in the $200,000 Centaur stakes last Saturday night at Indiana Downs, his fourth consecutive win. Tom Amoss’ colt seemed to have a little something, something after the wire in the mile test winning as the favorite.
- WAR DANCER – Ken McPeek’s War Front colt ran out of turf in his stretch run in the American Turf and then into a tough customer in the Centaur. Free World gets added to the list of accomplished winners in the turf races War Dancer has faced that includes Noble Tune and Jack Milton. Once thought to be headed to England this summer, he appears to now be staying stateside.
A couple of honorable mentions on the Turf Ten include Redwood Kitten, 9 on the roster last time out. I’m trying to find a place to wedge in the Wesley Ward’s colt, who with Ward having a stable at Colonial this year, makes the Virginia Derby more inviting. Then there are Hardest Core and North Slope, who have wins versus older horses on the Belmont Park turf. Play It Loud ran well in the Hill Prince and could make this board when an opportunity comes up.
(Featured image is Rydilluc winning the Penn Mile. Photo by B & D Photography.)