Ok…I know the calendar has not turned to 2017 yet, but is it too early to start thinking about Kentucky Derby 143???

The answer is…absolutely not! The Kentucky Derby is the world’s most renowned race and is always on the minds of many. So now that we have put a few noteworthy races for the up and comers in the books, I must ask a quick question. Has the balance of contender power shifted east of the Mississippi River?

For the past few years, the most dominant three-year old males have been from the West Coast. With four of the last five Derby winners (I’ll Have Another, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Nyquist) cutting their teeth in California, it has been no secret where the best were playing in the dirt before Derby day. Of course, like all things this is cyclical. Could the end of this cycle be in sight?

Two of the early front runners are rooted in Kentucky and will likely prep in the South. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Classic Empire is a son of Pioneerof the Nile and has won 4 of 5 lifetime starts while looking quite nice. Assistant trainer Norm Casse says the Bluegrass Stakes will be his likely final prep as long as health permits and they will work backwards from there. McCracken is an unbeaten son of Ghostzapper with two of his three wins coming at Churchill Downs. His latest victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club saw the Ian Wilkes trainee navigate through 11 others and exhibit a powerful stretch kick. Wintering in Florida, McCracken has some promising looks at the moment.

Of course there are some nice youngsters out West as well like the Bob Baffert trained Mastery and it is waaaaay early, but it is never too soon to think about the first Saturday in May!