THE TURF TEN – MAY 20, 2012

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 and perhaps with an inclination of running in the $500,000 Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs on July 13th.
Redwood Kitten, the James Murphy winner on Preakness day at Pimlico, is one of three Kitten’s Joy-sired colts in Nick Hahn’s Turf Ten. Kitten’s Joy won the 2004 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. (Photo-Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club)
  1. 1. NOBLE TUNE – Solid run in the American Turf over Derby weekend places Chad Brown’s colt by Unbridled Song atop the Turf Ten.  The Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf runner up has 4 wins in his 5 starts and is the most proven over the last nine months.
  2.  UP WITH THE BIRDS – Malcolm Pierce’s Stormy Atlantic colt has certainly has seen tough foes, perhaps the best on this roster.   Only Javier Castellano’s nifty ride aboard on the winner kept this Canadian-bred on the winner from winning the Transylvania.
  3. JACK MILTON – If Todd Pletcher’s lightly raced colt had a few more outings, he may be ranked even higher.  His Transylvania win was over a talented field.  Gary Barber’s late foal didn’t have a start as a two-year old.
  4. WAR DANCER – Ken McPeek’s War Front colt ran out of turf in his stretch run in the American Turf.  Jockey Alan Garcia may not wait so long in his next start.  The winner’s in the turf races he lost? Noble Tune and Jack Milton.
  5. ADMIRAL KITTEN – The “admiral” ride by Mike Smith was nearly measured perfectly by one of many Kitten’s Joy to be watching this summer.  Only one career win on the turf for Michael Maker’s pupil for the Ramsey home-bred but he’s been running well in tough company.
  6. RYDILLUC – The Palm Beach stakes winner at Gulfstream couldn’t hold on to the lead in the Bluegrass on the synthetic.  His front running style might be more questionable if Silver Max hadn’t virtually wired the Virginia Derby field last year.  He’s perfect on the turf in three outings.
  7. PROCUREMENT – Perhaps the “best in the west” with his LaPuente win, Tom Proctor knows the road to New Kent as he trained Banned, the 2011 Virginia Derby morning line favorite.  The Milwaukee Brew Florida-bred has three wins in six starts on the turf. 
  8. TATTENHAM – Bill Mott’s Rock Hard Ten colt has only two starts for Juddmonte Farms, both impressive wins on the turf at Tampa.  He’s been up north at Belmont Park since late April with solid morning works.
  9. CHARMING KITTEN – A suitable Derby effort for Ramsey’s homebred in the Kentucky Derby slop shouldn’t setback Pletcher’s student in a transition back to the turf.  In March, he won the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream, named after his sire.
  10. REDWOOD KITTEN – Wesley Ward will be bringing a portion of his stable to Colonial Downs this summer so Kitten’s Joy was a Virginia Derby prospect even before winning the Murphy over Preakness weekend at Pimlico.
         Also eligibles-Infinite Magic, Animal Style, Examen, Joelito, Rosengold, Fire Guard, I’ll Call, Chamois