Owner: Robert LaPenta. Trainer: Nick Zito. Jockey: Julien Leparoux.
Sire: Mineshaft. Dam: Cool Sez. Record: 8 races, 4 wins, 1 second, 0 thirds. Earnings: $307,531.
Comment: With War Pass sidelined for an indefinite period, this is the Derby hope of the owner. . . . Like several others, floundered in the Blue Grass after winning the Fountain of Youth with a gorgeous trip. . . . Has experience over the track. Won an allowance race by a bit more than two lengths in his penultimate start as a 2-year-old last Nov. 3.
*--* 1. COOL COAL MAN (20-1) *--*
*--* 2. TALE OF EKATI (15-1) *--*
Owner: Charles Fipke. Trainer: Barclay Tagg. Jockey: Eibar Coa.
Sire: Tale Of The Cat. Dam: Silence Beauty: Record: 6-3-1-0. Earnings: $769,200.
Comment: Earned his first win as a 3-year-old in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but the victory was not a thing of beauty. The final eighth of a mile in the Grade I took more than 14 seconds to complete and it took him seemingly forever to get by an exhausted War Pass. . . . Tagg won the 2002 Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide.
*--* 3. ANAK NAKAL (30-1) *--*
Owner: Four Roses Thoroughbreds. Trainer: Nick Zito. Jockey: Rafael Bejarano.
Sire: Victory Gallop. Dam: Misk. Record: 6-2-1-0. Earnings: $243,416.
Comment: Maybe a return to Louisville will perk him up. Only stakes win came at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Jockey Club last Nov. 24. . . . Hasn't threatened in three 2008 starts. His best finish was a fifth in the Wood Memorial. . . . Bejarano will be the fifth rider he's had, succeeding Coa, Leparoux, Joe Bravo and Alan Garcia.
*--* 4. COURT VISION (20-1) *--*
Sire: Gulch. Dam: Weekend Storm. Record: 6-3-1-2. Earnings: $367,542.
Comment: Some view him as a threat from behind, but couldn't take advantage of a dream setup in the Wood Memorial and had to settle for third. He wasn't able to get up even though the last three-eighths of a mile were run in a slow 40 4/5 seconds. . . . Undefeated at Churchill Downs. Rallied at nearly 9-1 to win the Iroquois there last Oct. 28.
*--* 5. EIGHT BELLES (20-1) *--*
Owner: Rick Porter. Trainer: Larry Jones. Jockey: Gabriel Saez.
Sire: Unbridled's Song. Dam: Away. Record: 9-5-2-1. Earnings: $308,650.
Comment: Owner decided to pass on the Kentucky Oaks and run his filly in the Derby. . . . Has won four in a row against her own sex versus suspect opposition at the Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park. . . . Will try to win the Derby 20 years after Winning Colors became the third filly to do so, joining Regret and Genuine Risk. Don't count on her joining that exclusive club.
*--* 6. Z FORTUNE (15-1) *--*
Sire: Siphon. Dam: Fortunate Faith. Record: 6-3-2-0. Earnings: $386,600.
Comment: Ran well to be second in the Arkansas Derby despite being wide most of the way. Some believe he would have defeated Gayego if the two would have switched trips. . . . Trying to make like another New York-bred: Funny Cide. . . . Has lost three in a row since winning the Lecomte at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 12.
*--* 7. BIG TRUCK (50-1) *--*
Owner: Eric Fein. Trainer: Barclay Tagg. Jockey: Javier Castellano.
Sire: Hook And Ladder. Dam: Just A Ginny. Record: 8-3-1-1. Earnings: $336,880.
Comment: Turned in worst race of his life in the Blue Grass, finishing 11th of 12. . . . Two of his three victories have come against fellow New York-breds. . . . His victory against open company was a 7-1 surprise in the Tampa Bay Derby. . . . Distance is probably not in his favor.
*--* 8. VISIONAIRE (20-1) *--*
Owner: Vision Racing and Team Valor International. Trainer: Michael Matz. Jockey: Jose Lezcano.
Sire: Grand Slam. Dam: Scarlet Tango. Record: 6-3-1-1. Earnings: $250,760.
Comment: Made up some ground in a Blue Grass that was dominated by the front-runners. The way he finished suggests he will handle more ground, something that was a concern to his trainer before his race at Keeneland. . . . Matz looking for his second win in three years, but, trust us, Visionaire is no Barbaro.
*--* 9. PYRO (6-1) *--*
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds. Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan.
Sire: Pulpit. Dam: Wild Vision. Record: 7-3-2-1. Earnings: $1,056,718.
Comment: Disappointed as the favorite in the Blue Grass after beginning 2008 with visually impressive victories in the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Many expect him to rebound on a real dirt track. . . . Had not finished worse than third in any of his six races before the Blue Grass. . . . Broke his maiden by a nose at Churchill in his career debut at six furlongs last July 7.
*--* 10. COLONEL JOHN (4-1) *--*
Owner: WinStar Farm LLC. Trainer: Eoin Harty. Jockey: Corey Nakatani.
Sire: Tiznow. Dam: Sweet Damsel. Record: 6-4-2-0. Earnings: $825,300.
Comment: Overcame adversity to win the Santa Anita Derby and looks to be California's best hope for success. . . . Nakatani has yet to win the world's most famous race. . . . Harty was an assistant to Bob Baffert when that stable won the Derby with Silver Charm in 1997 and the following year with Real Quiet. . . . This will be Colonel John's first start on conventional dirt.
*--* 11. Z HUMOR (30-1) *--*
Owner: Zayat Stables. Trainer: Bill Mott. Jockey: Rene Douglas.
Sire: Distorted Humor. Dam: Offtheoldblock. Record: 8-2-0-3. Earnings: $621,450.
Comment: Earned the bulk of his bankroll with a win -- in a dead heat with Turf War -- in the Delta Jackpot, a Grade III with an inflated $1-million purse at Delta Downs in Louisiana late last fall. . . . Third and fifth in two previous appearances in Grade I races. . . . Douglas rode him for the first time when third in the Illinois Derby.
*--* 12. SMOOTH AIR (20-1) *--*
Owner: Mount Joy Stables, Inc. Trainer: Bennie Stutts. Jockey: Manoel Cruz.
Sire: Smooth Jazz. Dam: Air France. Record: 7-3-2-2. Earnings: $395,500.
Comment: Florida-bred is, if nothing else, consistent. Never worse than third, but has yet to race outside his home state. . . . Picked up the pieces to be second in the Florida Derby, but did not threaten Big Brown and wouldn't have if they had circled the track again. . . . Only graded stakes win came in the Hutcheson, a Grade II, over a sloppy surface on Jan. 5 at Gulfstream.
*--* 13. BOB BLACK JACK (20-1) *--*
Owner: Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff. Trainer: Jim Kasparoff. Jockey: Richard Migliore.
Sire: Stormy Jack. Dam: Matty's Prospector. Record: 7-3-2-1. Earnings: $442,925.
Comment: California-bred has been an overachiever considering he was purchased for only $4,500 as a yearling. . . . Looked home free in the Santa Anita Derby before being outfinished by Colonel John. . . . Figures to be part of the pace, but is a big question mark at the distance.
*--* 14. MONBA (15-1) *--*
Sire: Maria's Mon. Dam: Hamba. Record: 5-3-0-0. Earnings: $577,534.
Comment: Earned his ticket with a hard-fought victory in the Blue Grass. . . . With Edgar Prado opting for Adriano, the mount opened for Dominguez, who was the dominant rider during the winter in New York. . . . Although a much-troubled last in the Fountain of Youth in his last start on conventional dirt, the gray did win here last fall, defeating, among others, Macho Again, who won the Derby Trial.
*--* 15. ADRIANO (30-1) *--*
Owner: Courtlandt Farms: Trainer: Graham Motion. Jockey: Edgar Prado.
Sire: A. P. Indy. Dam: Gold Canyon. Record: 7-3-1-0. Earnings: $387,700.
Comment: A new member of racing's Hall of Fame, Prado had other Derby options, but stuck with this well-bred chestnut. . . . His pedigree says he will relish 10 furlongs, but what about conventional dirt? His victories have come on either turf or a synthetic surface. In his lone race on dirt, finished a troubled ninth, 17 lengths behind the winner, in the Fountain of Youth.
*--* 16. DENIS OF CORK (20-1) *--*
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr. Trainer: David Carroll. Jockey: Calvin Borel.
Sire: Harlan's Holiday. Dam: Unbridled Girl. Record: 4-3-0-0. Earnings: $213,552.
Comment: Suffered first loss in Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, a suspect Derby prep that was dominated by front-running longshot Recapturetheglory. . . . Borel, who won the race a year ago with Street Sense, is looking to become the first jockey to repeat in the Derby since Eddie Delahoussaye won with Gato Del Sol in 1982 and Sunny's Halo 12 months later. . . . Three wins have come at three tracks.
*--* 17. COWBOY CAL (20-1) *--*
Owner: Stonerside Stable. Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: John Velazquez.
Sire: Giant's Causeway. Dam: Texas Tammy. Record: 6-3-2-0. Earnings: $314,708.
Comment: Lost the Blue Grass by a neck to Monba after being in front almost every step of the way. . . . All three of his wins have come on turf. Only start on conventional dirt was in his debut last Aug. 25 at Saratoga. Finished seventh of 10, more than 11 lengths behind the winner in the six-furlong race.
*--* 18. RECAPTURETHEGLORY (20-1) *--*
Owner: Ron Lamarque and Louie Roussel III. Trainer: Roussel. Jockey: E.T. Baird.
Sire: Cherokee Run. Dam: Cold Awakening. Record: 6-2-1-2. Earnings: $333,080.
Comment: Controlled the pace and easily won the Illinois Derby on April 5 at Hawthorne. No such luxury will be granted him in the Derby. . . . Owner and trainer are best known for Risen Star, who was the champion 3-year-old of 1988 thanks primarily to victories in the Preakness and Belmont. . . . Second in his only previous race at Churchill.
*--* 19. GAYEGO (15-1) *--*
Owner: Cubanacan Stables. Trainer: Paulo Lobo. Jockey: Mike Smith.
Sire: Gilded Time. Dam: Devils Lake. Record: 5-3-2-0. Earnings: $723,400.
Comment: Improving colt showed he could handle real dirt when winning the Arkansas Derby three weeks ago at Oaklawn Park. . . . His pedigree suggests he will have trouble with 1 1/4 miles, but Smith is confident Gayego will stay 10 furlongs. . . . Lobo knows what it is like to win a big race at Churchill Downs. The Brazilian-born trainer won the Kentucky Oaks with 20-1 shot Farda Amiga in 2002.
*--* 20. BIG BROWN (3-1) *--*
Owner: IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa, Jr. Trainer: Rick Dutrow Jr. Jockey: Kent Desormeaux.
Sire: Boundary. Dam: Mien. Record: 3-3-0-0. Earnings: $662,700.
Comment: A deserving favorite on the strength of three blowout victories. . . . Lack of experience has many doubting whether he is ready to win the Derby. . . . Desormeaux has won the race twice, scoring in 1998 with Real Quiet and with Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. . . . Foot problems have been an issue with colt, but Dutrow insists all is well now.