THE TURF TEN

SILVER MAX WIRES THE AMERICAN TURF AND THE TURF TEN.
TRAVEL ADVISORY RUNS SECOND. (Reed Photography)

Nick’s picks for the top ten three year old horses in North America with at least one start on the turf in 2012 and perhaps with thoughts of running in the $600,000 Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs on July 21st.

Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

1

SILVER MAX

Mark Bacon & Dana Wells Dale Romans Rafael Bejarano
Certainly has emerged to the top of the class with his American Turf win over a so-called “slippery” Churchill Downs turf course.  I’m not sure of the method in regards to the Virginia Derby, but now he just won his third straight all on the front end.  Looks like Bejarno will keep the mount.
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

2

DULLAHAN

Donegal Racing Dale Romans Kent Desormeaux
With a 3rd-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, the similarities to Paddy O’Prado are astounding…except that he’s headed to Belmont instead of the Preakness where Paddy O’Prado ran 6th.  With another Donegal interest is emerging on the turf, it may be a while before Dullahan sees the turf again.  The Belmont Stakes waits.
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

3

HOWE GREAT

Team Valor Graham Motion John Velazquez
He could be interchangable here at #3 with Travel Advisory who finished ahead of him in the American Turf.  The stormy conditions may have been a factor for the Palm Beach winner, but I think he may have needed a start on the turf after his Bluegrass outing.  
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

4

TRAVEL ADVISORY

TK Stables Kellyn Gorder Manoel  Cruz
He seems to be moving up on Silver Max with each outing and certainly has found a home on the turf.  I like his chances as the distances begin to increase.  He ran still run second to Silver Max twice, but the margin is getting closer.
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

5

ACHILLES

Peachtree Stable Neil Drysdale Joe Talamo
A west coast colt sired by a top performer at Colonial Downs.  Smart Strike sires Drysdale’s lightly raced Santa Anita miler untoppled in his two turf starts.  His next start was suppose to be the American Turf but now could be in the James Murphy after a scratch Sunday at Belmont versus older horses. 
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

6

STAR CHANNEL

GDS Racing Stable Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano
Pletcher trains not only this three year old Florida talent, he also trained his sire, English Channel to a sweep of Colonial’s “twin turf” wins in 2005.  The Sophomore Turf winner has won three starts on the turf win before the American Turf.  Like the Cozenne mare, Reach the Top.  Appears to be fine after tossing Castellano in the American Turf.
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

7

BLINGO

Jerry & Ann Moss John Shirreffs Mike Smith
Undefeated and impressive on the turf in two starts while being two lackluster in two starts when not on it.  Sheriffs tells the DRF he may not be fully convinced that he has to race on the turf, but we like it when he does.  A solid win in the La Puente Stakes at 1 & 1/8th at Santa Anita.  
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

8

EASY CROSSING

Preston Stables, LLC Christophe Clement Joe Bravo
Trainer Christophe Clement who saddled 2008 Virginia Derby winner Gio Ponti has an English Channel colt that could be on the rise.  Lots of Virginia Derby karma from this Gulfstream performer who won twice and is now beginning to win as a favorite.  
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

9

FINNEGAN’S WAKE

Donegal Racing Dale Romans Kent Desormeaux
Donegal and Dale must have been happy while the way was moving at the wire of the American Turf when he finished 4th.  I love his Powerscourt (GB) breeding on the top side.  With this colt in the barn and improving, it’s less tempting to return stable neighbor Dullahan to the turf. 
Owner Trainer Jockey (last start)

10

STATE OF PLAY

Team Valor Graham Motion John Velazquez
Another Motion horse that could gain on Silver Max with his next start.  Finishing third in the Transylvania, State of Play is nominated for the James Murphy on the turf over Preakness weekend.  The John Battaglia winner on the synthetic won twice at Saratoga as a two-year old.
EDGED OFF THE TURF TEN – LOOK AT THE TIME, undefeated in restricted races at the Fairgrounds, ran fifth in the American Turf.   CHIPS ALL IN, lost a duel with STONEY FENCE in Saturday’s Alcatraz at Golden Gate Fields.  DONE TALKING might get switched to the turf this summer.  OUR ENTOURAGE ran fifth in an allowance versus older horses at Belmont on Sunday.  Other honorable mentions include FILM SHOT, GOLD MEGILLAH and SUMMER BREEZING.  Romans has COZETTI who might be another player on the turf should he not make the Preakness starting gate.