Justify - © Benoit Photo

Justify – © Benoit Photo

Twelve days, folks. Just twelve days remain until twenty of the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds from North America and Europe vie for supremacy in the 2018 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Since the start of December, I’ve been compiling a weekly ranking of the top Kentucky Derby contenders, an enjoyable exercise that is equal parts challenging and fun. Many names have come and gone from my list, but now the prep races are complete and we’re down to my elite ten, with only the pre-race workouts left to influence my rankings in the days before the race.

So without further ado, here is my final Kentucky Derby Top 10 of the season, with thoughts on the most recent workouts turned in by each contender. Thanks for reading along and making this a memorable road to the Kentucky Derby!

  1. Justify

Latest workout: Six furlongs in 1:13.20 on April 21st at Santa Anita

His workout on Saturday did nothing to shake his status as the Kentucky Derby favorite. If anything, he could be an even clearer choice after getting the best of his workmate and galloping out with authority in a quick move that was excellent from a visual perspective. He continues to change leads right on cue, and with less than two weeks until the Derby, he remains my top choice to win the roses.

  1. Bolt d’Oro

Latest workout: Seven furlongs in 1:24.20 on April 22nd at Santa Anita

Bolt d’Oro really caught my eye with his Sunday workout, as he broke off fast and maintained a high rate of speed from start to finish while posting the fastest time of the morning for seven furlongs. Based off this sharp breeze, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bolt d’Oro a bit closer to the pace than usual in the Kentucky Derby.

  1. Good Magic

Latest workout: Four furlongs in :48.00 on April 21st at Keeneland

An easy half-mile in :48 flat doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but don’t let the modest time fool you. Good Magic looked strong in his first breeze since the Blue Grass and galloped out strongly past the finish line, going five furlongs in 1:00 flat and six furlongs in 1:14. My only knock on the workout is that Good Magic did appear to be carrying his head to the right while coming down the homestretch.

  1. Audible

Latest workout: Five furlongs in 1:01.40 on April 20th at Palm Beach Downs

Audible has a reputation for being a less-than-impressive workhorse, but he looked better than usual in Friday’s breeze, getting the better of last year’s Belmont Stakes (gr. I) third-place finisher Patch in what was Audible’s second straight above-average workout since the Florida Derby. He appears to be getting good at just the right time.

  1. Mendelssohn

Since Mendelssohn hasn’t arrived in the U.S. yet, there’s nothing to report on the workout front, but it has been confirmed that jockey Ryan Moore will retain the mount for the Kentucky Derby, a positive development since Moore has been in the saddle for five of Mendelssohn’s seven races to date.

  1. Magnum Moon

Since Magnum Moon ran in the Arkansas Derby less than ten days ago, he hasn’t returned to the work tab yet, but he did arrive at Churchill Downs on April 23rd and is expected to breeze once there prior to the Derby.

  1. Vino Rosso

Latest workout: Four furlongs in :49.65 on April 20th at Palm Beach Downs

Vino Rosso breezed in company with his stakes-winning stablemate Outplay, breaking off about a length behind while on the inside before gaining back the margin to finish on even terms at the wire. It wasn’t anything flashy, but it was a solid effort for his first work since winning the Wood Memorial.

  1. Noble Indy

Latest workout: Six furlongs in 1:15.00 on April 20th at Palm Beach Downs

With a six-week gap between the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby, Noble Indy has already turned in three pre-Derby workouts. His most recent was eye-catching as he was tons the best against his stakes-placed stablemate Road to Damascus before galloping out in powerful fashion. You can argue that Noble Indy needs to step up his game a bit to compete for victory in the Derby, but if you like him, his workouts thus far give no reason to jump off the bandwagon.

  1. My Boy Jack

Winner of the Lexington Stakes on April 14th, My Boy Jack is expected to breeze just once at Churchill Downs prior to the Derby. Given that he’s already run four times this year, I wouldn’t expect anything huge in his workout—a maintenance move is likely all he needs.

  1. Enticed

Latest workout: Five furlongs in 1:01.20 on April 19th at Palm Meadows Training Center

The time wasn’t all that eye-catching, but Enticed looked good breezing five furlongs in company with his Kentucky Oaks-bound stablemate Take Charge Paula, starting off just behind her before rolling by late in the homestretch and pulling away past the finish line. He appears to be maintaining good form heading into the Derby.