Road to the Kentucky Derby

Posted: April 03, 2007

The Grade I $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct takes center stage Saturday as two big hitters make their final prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Todd Pletcher's Circular Quay and Barclay Tagg's Nobiz Like Shobiz head the field for the 11/8-mile race (live on ESPN, same-day replays on "I can't do much more now except get out there and ride him myself," said Tagg. "He's done everything I've asked." Pletcher also has Cowtown Cat in Saturday's Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. His big rival in the 11/8-race will be the Merv Griffin-owned Cobalt Blue.

Here is Craig Donnelly's top-10 list.

No. Horse             Trainer      Jockey          Comment

1. Street Sense          Nafzger      Borel            Preparing for key prep in April 14 Blue Grass;                                                          Juvenile champ won Tampa Bay Derby.

2. Curlin                Asmussen   Albarado      Stayed untested in two starts with romp in Rebel;                                                    competes in Arkansas Derby on April 14.

3. Hard Spun          Jones      Pino            Pulled away eagerly in Lane's End to redeem                                                          Southwest setback; Blue Grass not definite.

4. Great Hunter          O'Neil   l      Nakatani         Chester County-bred impressive in Santa Anita                                                       return; meets Street Sense again in Blue Grass.

5. Nobiz Like Shobiz    Tagg         C.Velasquez   Worked 5 furlongs in 59 3/5 seconds; blinkers                                                       should help in Wood Saturday.

6. Circular Quay          Pletcher      J. Velazquez   Kicked late to win Louisiana Derby; may have right                                                    style for this year's Derby.

7. Any Given Saturday    Pletcher      J. Velazquez   Rallied wide but just missed against Street Sense                                                    in Tampa; Blue Grass next.

8. Chelokee             Matz         Dominguez      Rallied to be third despite brutal trip in Florida                                                       Derby; graded earnings of only $100,000 could                                                       keep him out of Derby.

9. Scat Daddy          Pletcher      J. Velazquez   Won Florida Derby in another great weekend for                                                       Pletcher; not dominating but formidable.

10. Notional             O'Neill      Albarado      Backed up pair of victories with runner-up finish in                                                    Florida Derby; Derby distance is in his range.

Others to consider: Cowtown Cat, Deadly Dealer, Cobalt Blue

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