Cairo Prince Noses Out Honor Code In Top 10 Kentucky Derby Hopefuls List

Cairo Prince is currently the royalty of Kentucky Derby front-runners, according to a top 10 list compiled by important thoroughbred horse racing industry members and leaders. Syndicated and award-winning racing writers Bill Finley, Kellie Reilly, Ed Derosa and others cast their ballots each week for a Top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders Poll. Followed by Honor Code and Candy Boy, with Tapiture and Top Billing tied for fourth place in the voting and rounding out the top five, Cairo Prince still has 10 weeks to go before the 140th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

Instant fame and celebrity status is bestowed upon every Kentucky Derby winner, and this time of the year Triple Crown prep races are run through April 19 that shape up the eventual Derby field. Although officially tagged as three-year-old thoroughbreds, many of the horses which will run in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes Triple Crown horse races are actually just over two years old, some of them barely so. One of the youngest horses in the talented field this year which has seen an unprecedented number of qualifying thoroughbreds is the talented and recently peaking Tapiture.

He took the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes by 4+ links to finish his a juvenile season, and also won the Southwest Stakes by the same margin of victory to kick off this year's campaign. Relatively young as a late foal, his birthday is actually May 3, meaning that he will be running in the Kentucky Derby on his birthday. And even if Cairo Prince continues to hold the designation as the odds on Las Vegas favorite to win this year's Kentucky Derby, the weekend of February 22 and 23 will certainly be important in determining Top 10 Kentucky Derby Contender status for several horses next week, and going forward.

The $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and $300,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana will either solidify Cairo Prince's dominion as the most likely thoroughbred to win this year's Kentucky Derby, or other horses will take over the top spot. The Fountain of Youth Stakes is a Grade II event which is the final stakes prep for the closely watched Florida Derby, and unofficial preparation for the Kentucky Derby. But ESPN racing analyst and published author Jay Cronley joins racing writer Gary West and horse racing podcaster Barry Abrams as believers that Honor Code is currently the strongest thoroughbred heading into the Kentucky Derby.

Honor Code has two victories in three starts, and is arguably the most promising young horse from 2013. The Fountain of Youth Stakes was expected to be his debut race this year, but an ankle injury means that the Rebel Stakes on March 15 will most probably see his earliest action. A late start doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing for a young and strong thoroughbred however. Super Saver and Street Sense are two former Kentucky Derby champions who started their seasons on March 13 and March 17 respectively, the year they took The Run for the Roses. Rounding out the impressive Top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders Poll was Strong Mandate, Commissioner, Shared Belief, Bayern and Samraaat. Racing columnist and third generation horse racing descendant Tim Turrell sees Bob Baffert's Bayern is the class of the field, who is undefeated in two starts.

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