Kentucky Derby Contenders Updated Power Rankings

The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, and that storied horse racing spectacle is already on the radar of analysts, writers and other equestrian experts. A team of 16 panelists which includes respected Kentucky Derby experts and writers Esther Marr, Bob Ehalt and Steve Davidowitz chimed in this week with their thoughts on the top Kentucky Derby hopefuls this year. Each week ESPN updates their list of horse racing specialists, and after a compilation of their thoughts on the most important US-based thoroughbred horse racing event of the year, a Top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders list and power rankings is released. Familiar names abound, but there are a couple of newcomers which are garnering votes and attention thanks to their performances in recent Kentucky Derby prep races.

Lodged firmly in the number one spot is Cairo Prince, who has compiled 14 Derby points and a 3 - 1 - 0 win, place, show record this season. Last week the horse ran 5/8 of a mile in 59.95 seconds, recording the fastest time of the day and displaying the speed that the multiple stakes winner has shown. Honor Code is rated as the number two Kentucky Derby contender this week, after having posted a 2 - 1 - 0 win, place, show record. This past Sunday at Gulfstream Park Honor Code ran a blistering 59.18 seconds, just his fourth workout since missing training because of bruised ankles. His next return to competition will probably be the Rebel Stakes on March 15 at Oaklawn Park.

Rated as the third most probable horse to win the vaunted Run For the Roses this year according to the panelists is Candy Boy, a horse which has run a full six starts so far this season. With 10 Derby points and a 2 - 2 - 0 record thus far, his big win was the Robert Lewis Stakes. Posting one of the most dominant performances of any horse this season, he worked behind the early leaders, angled around in the stretch and looked like he could have run another race after it was over. Tapiture has compiled an impressive 22 Derby points, and owns a 2 - 1 - 2 record in five races thus far this season.

Top Billing rounds out the top five Kentucky Derby contenders according to the ESPN power rankings this week. Trainer Shaun McGaughey has worked the colt to a 2 - 1 - 1 record in four starts, but the horse has never won a stakes race. Bearing mention is Intense Holiday. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt owns just a 2 - 0 - 1 record in a full seven starts this season, but his win in New Orleans and the impressive 53 total Derby points compiled could portend a win in the first leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing held on May 3 this year at Churchill Downs.

Also receiving votes and falling just outside of the top 10 contenders list are Wildcat Red, Conquest Titan, Uncle Sigh and Midnight Hawk. The updated New York Daily News Kentucky Derby leaderboard shows Cairo Prince and Honor Code as the 13th and 14th ranked points leaders, with Rick Violette Jr's Samraat in the number one spot with 60 Kentucky Derby qualifying points compiled thus far, as well as $450,000 in winnings. Ring Weekend has earned an impressive 50 Kentucky Derby points for Graham Motion as well as $210,000, while Bob Baffert's previously mentioned Midnight Hawk has chalked up to 32 points and $144,000 so far.

Back To Legal Horse Betting news headlines