The calendar has turned to March and that means it’s time to start really thinking about the upcoming Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Slated for May 3 (Oaks) and 4 (Derby), contenders will have one or two more starts to prepare for their runs at immortality beneath those fabled twin spires of Churchill Downs. Of course guys like me think of Derby and Oaks about 364 days a year. As a voting member in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s weekly poll, here is our ballot for the top ten three-year olds and a thought on each.


  1. Game Winner-Bob Baffert trained and unbeaten Juvenile champ has yet to start at three but his works have the five-time Derby winner smiling.
  2. Improbable- Also an unbeaten Baffert trainee that has won all three starts at three different tracks including a win at Churchill.
  3. Bellafina-Magnificent daughter of Quality Road has two wins as a three-year old and five career wins for trainer Simon Callaghan.
  4. War of Will- Is three for three on dirt including a pair of impressive Stakes triumphs at Fair Grounds for trainer Mark Casse.
  5. Mucho Gusto-Another talented Baffert trainee whose only loss came to his stable mate (Improbable). Headed to Oaklawn for Rebel Stakes.
  6. Serengeti Empress- Has looked like royalty for trainer Tom Amoss and she currently sits atop the Oaks leaderboard.
  7. Code of Honor- Impressive stretch run in Fountain of Youth win has put this Shug McGaughey trained colt on the Derby radar.
  8. Mind Control- This son of Stay Thirsty might be the top contender on the New York circuit. Won the Jerome Stakes gate to wire.
  9. Gunmetal Gray- Jerry Hollendorfer trained colt has knocked heads with heavyweights in 4 consecutive graded stakes with 1 win and 2 seconds
  10. Galilean- California-bred walking in the steps of 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. Will run in open company next start.